Thursday, December 15, 2005

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Discontinues Use of Oral HIV Test, Loses Confidence in Reliability

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The L.A. Gay &
Lesbian Center has discontinued use of the oral
version of the rapid OraQuick HIV test over growing
concerns regarding its reliability. In November, 13
people who took the OraQuick oral test at the Center
falsely registered as HIV-positive. Clinics in San
Francisco and New York have also reported large
numbers of false-positives with the popular test.

The Center provides an average of 800 free HIV tests
each month and has offered clients two options for
rapid testing: the OraQuick oral test and the OraQuick
fingerstick test. Clients also have the option of
taking the OraSure oral test and the traditional blood
test, both of which deliver results in seven days.
Since the rapid oral test is the least invasive and
delivers results in about 20 minutes, it is the
favorite of about 80 percent of those who test at the
Center. HIV testing counselors will now suggest the
OraQuick fingerstick test, which tests a drop of blood
rather than oral material, but also delivers results
in 20 minutes.

Those who registered as HIV-positive with the oral
test were immediately re-tested with a different
diagnostic, as is the case with all preliminary HIV
tests, to determine their actual status. The wait for
the results from a confirmatory test, however, can be
agonizing.

"If the public loses confidence in the reliability of
HIV tests, they're just going to stop testing," said
Quentin O'Brien, director of health and mental health
services at the Center, "and we can't allow that to
happen. Fortunately, we've noticed no irregularities
with the rapid fingerstick test and have already been
successful in convincing clients to opt for that test
now."

In Los Angeles there are an estimated 15,000 people
who are unaware they are HIV-infected.

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center offers free HIV testing
to everyone at its McDonald/Wright building in
Hollywood and at The Spot in West Hollywood. For hours
of operation and location addresses visit:
http://www.LAGayCenter.org/hivtesting.

About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center provides a broad array
of services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender community, welcoming nearly a
quarter-million client visits from ethnically diverse
youth and adults each year. Through its Jeffrey
Goodman Special Care Clinic and on-site pharmacy, the
Center offers free and low-cost health, mental health,
HIV/AIDS medical care and HIV/STD testing and
prevention. The Center also offers legal, social,
cultural, and educational services, with unique
programs for seniors, families and youth, including a
24-bed transitional living program for homeless youth.
Information about the Center is available on the Web
at http://www.LAGayCenter.org

http://www.usnewswire.com/

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