Variety of HIV Test Choices Are Needed, Editorial Says
While opponents of the new OraQuick HIV test believe it will decrease the quality of counseling and reporting of test result, the new "finger-prick" test, which can apprise people of their HIV status within 20 minutes, should be available to those who want "instant results," a Denver Post editorial states, noting that a traditional test can take anywhere from three days to two weeks to produce results. While groups such as the Colorado AIDS Project and the state Department of Public Health and Environment have raised "excellent" points by questioning the test's possible effect on counseling and reporting, proponents, such as the CDC, make "equally strong cases" for the test's use, the Post says, noting that the test would "allo[w] for a broader spectrum of people to be tested" and would "catch the 30%" of people who get tested but never return for their results. The Post suggests that in order to maintain test quality and reliability, volunteers who administer the test should sign an agreement to "carefully" report positive results and counseling sessions should be made available after a patient receives their results. The editorial concludes, "[W]e all need more information and easier, more convenient ways of obtaining that information" (Denver Post, 10/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.