Rapid Saliva HIV Tests Preferred Among Youth
Young people prefer a rapid-result saliva HIV test over blood and urine tests, according to a study published in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Ligia Peralta of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and colleagues interviewed 278 individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 enrolled in health education classes throughout Maryland during which educators demonstrated three saliva tests, a urine test and two fingerstick tests. "When given the option, adolescents would clearly prefer both a non-invasive and an HIV antibody test with a rapid result response time," the researchers wrote, noting that saliva and fingerstick tests gained support when they were revealed to produce results in 10 minutes. Half of all new HIV cases are diagnosed in those younger than 25, but young people may be reluctant to get tested for HIV, putting them at a risk for delayed care and increasing their risk of infection and transmission. Peralta said, "Innovative HIV testing technology with rapid results would ultimately increase the number of youths accepting HIV counseling and testing services, while increasing opportunities for HIV prevention, early identification and linkage to care." In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Alain Joffe of Johns Hopkins Hospital said that the findings may help health clinics "better deal" with young patients. "Hospital-based or other clinics that rely on the traditional method of obtaining a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory will need to revisit their protocol ... if they truly wish to be youth friendly," Joffe writes (Douglas, Reuters Health, 8/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.