Oral HIV screening is as effective as HIV blood tests
A popular oral screening method which can test for HIV is just as effective as traditionally used blood tests, researchers have found.
The ‘OraQuick HIV 1/2’ swab-style test demonstrated 99 percent accuracy when used in populations with a high HIV risk and 97 percent accuracy in low risk populations.
An accuracy rating of 99 percent is similar to that achieved by HIV blood tests.
OraQuick HIV 1/2 works by absorbing antibodies from mouth’s blood vessels. It reveals any HIV antibodies which are present in the saliva within just 20 minutes.
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The test has become incredibly popular in many countries across the world thanks to its ease of use, accessibility and the fact that it’s non-invasive and completely pain free.
It is also widely used in countries looking to implement self-testing programmes for HIV.
Researchers in Canada discovered the accuracy of the OraQuick HIV 1/2 after comparing the results of five worldwide investigations into the swab’s effectiveness.
“Testing is the cornerstone of prevention, treatment and care strategies,” said Dr Nitika Pant Pai, who led the research team.
“Although previous studies have shown that the oral fluid-based OraQuick HIV1/2 test has great promise, ours is the first to evaluate its potential at a global level.
“Getting people to show up for HIV testing at public clinics has been difficult because of visibility, stigma, lack of privacy and discrimination,” Dr Pant Pai added.
“A confidential testing option such as self-testing could bring an end to the stigmatization associated with HIV testing.
“There is a huge global momentum for alternate HIV self-testing strategies that can inform people know of their status.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Rosanna Peeling, the lead author of the study, added: “Oral HIV tests can be a powerful tool for high risk populations, but self-testing must be accompanied by linkage to care to achieve good health outcomes.”
The results of the research have been published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.
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