Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center Discontinues Use of OraQuick Oral HIV Test After False-Positive Results
The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center on Thursday announced it is discontinuing use of OraSure Technologies' oral OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV 1/2 Antibody Test after the center reported 13 false-positive test results in November, the Los Angeles Times reports. The center -- which made its announcement one month after the UCSF AIDS Health Project in San Francisco made the same decision -- said that false-positive test results before November had been rare (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 12/16). The test requires users to swab their gums and then place the swab in a holder. After 20 minutes, one line appears on the strip if the HIV result is negative, and two appear if the result is positive. According to Bernard Branson, associate director of laboratory diagnostics at CDC, the agency plans to issue a public health advisory recommending that all HIV-positive results from the oral test be followed up by using the OraQuick test with blood collected from a "finger stick" after reports of an unusual number of false-positive results from the oral tests in San Francisco and New York City. The OraQuick test using blood from a finger stick has not had comparable issues with false positives (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/12). Quentin O'Brien, director of health and mental health services at LAGLC, said, "If the public loses confidence in the reliability of HIV tests, they're just going to stop testing, and we can't allow that to happen." O'Brien said the center currently is offering the rapid finger stick test to clients and no irregularities have been reported (LAGLC release, 12/15). OraSure President Doug Michels on Thursday said the company has "extreme confidence in the reliability of the test" and continues to study reports of false-positive results. Peter Kerndt, director of Los Angeles County's sexually transmitted disease program, said the county has not found an abnormal rate of false positives from the oral tests, adding, "I think the wrong thing to do here is to stop using the test" (Los Angeles 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.