July 15, 2005

The OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test collects oral fluid and
checks for the presence of HIV antibodies, which indicates an HIV infection.
The test returns results in 20-40 minutes.

AIDS Service Center NYC has added OraQuick Advanced Rapid HIV testing to our onsite HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral (CTR) program. Now, ASC can conduct HIV testing and provide test results in as little as 20 minutes' time.

Prior to improved HIV testing technologies, the ASC CTR team had used OraSure HIV testing, which requires 3–5 days for off-site processing and identification of test results. Same-day testing available through the new OraQuick technology (via an oral fluid swab that uses no needles) will make it possible for ASC to ensure that every individual we test can receive his or her results right away, without having to return for their results a few days later.

ASC's CTR Coordinator Stacey Keith is enthusiastic about the use of OraQuick in non-medical HIV testing settings such as ASC provides. "Various HIV testing methods have been around for 20 years, but they all required patients to wait days or even weeks for their results. For some, that wait meant not coming back for results, meaning that a certain percentage of the HIV-positive clients we tested were lost to follow-up. As an agency dedicated to delivering risk-reduction and prevention education where it is most needed, ASC is pleased to have this new tool at our disposal."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 900,000 Americans are currently infected with HIV. Of these, approximately 25 percent are unaware that they are HIV-positive. "People who know they are positive are far less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. This knowledge, coupled with counseling and support, is a vital part of the effort to slow the spread of HIV," says Keith. "Finding out your HIV status is the first, critical step."

Early detection is an extremely important factor in the successful management of HIV disease. By providing on-the-spot test results, counseling services, and direct linkages to care, ASC will provide HIV-positive individuals with the medical and social support services they need, while providing those who test negative with risk reduction information and programs that can help them remain uninfected. ASC offers all of these confidential services free of charge.

Click here to learn more about ASC's Counseling, Testing, and Referral program.

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