Outreach Workers Using Rapid HIV Test To Help People Learn Their HIV Status
An eight-month-old CDC demonstration project taking place in cities nationwide allows outreach workers the opportunity to test people for HIV using the OraQuick Rapid HIV-1 Antibody test, which can deliver results in 20 minutes, the New York Times reports. Workers in Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C., are administering tests in gay bars, clinics for teenagers, homeless shelters and drug-treatment centers and to commercial sex workers, according to the Times. The testing program also provides people who test HIV-positive with referrals to programs or additional counseling, the Times reports. CDC estimates that one-quarter of the approximately 900,000 HIV-positive people living in the United States are unaware of their status. Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said in a recent teleconference, "Without knowing it, they may be transmitting the virus to others. Use of the rapid tests is key to the success of these efforts." Federal studies show that 90% of people who learn that they are HIV-positive alter their risk-taking behavior in order to lessen the chance that they will spread the virus, according to the Times (Pogash, New York Times, 12/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.