Washington Post Profiles ‘Major Role’ of New OraQuick 20-Minute HIV Test in HIV Prevention
The Washington Post today profiles OraSure Technologies' OraQuick HIV test, which offers results that are 99.6% accurate within 20 minutes, saying that health officials expect that the test will play a "major role" in HIV testing and prevention practices (McMillen, Washington Post, 6/24). In February, President Bush announced a plan to expand the availability of the test to more than 100,000 doctors' offices and public health clinics. However, the CDC does not yet have recommendations on the use of the rapid test or what type of counseling should accompany the test, leaving such decisions up to local health authorities. A CDC official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that although the agency is rethinking counseling strategies, it still believes the process is important (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/30). AIDS advocates hope that by simplifying the testing process, they will increase the number of people who get tested and return to receive their results. In 2000, of the 2.1 million people who received publicly funded HIV tests, the CDC estimates that 30% of those who tested positive and 40% of those who tested negative failed to return to receive their results or additional counseling. On Friday, which is National HIV Testing Day, the Whitman Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C., is expected to begin a three-month pilot program of OraQuick. In addition, because the test is portable, AIDS groups are starting off-site testing in clubs and bars in areas of high HIV prevalence (Washington Post, 6/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.