Health Dept changes HIV testing procedure

NYC Health Dept changes HIV testing procedure
June 22, 2008 3:27:25 PM PDT
The city's Department of Health has changed its HIV testing procedure after a slight uptick in false positives from rapid response tests using oral fluid samples, switching to only using blood samples for the rapid response tests. The department said the from October to April, false positive rates for oral fluid tests were up to 1.1 percent of the thousands of tests given, which is still below federal standards but higher than normal for the city. Accuracy levels in May were normal.

Any positive HIV test outcome is retested through blood samples to verify its accuracy, and the department said anyone getting tested was informed of that. The decision to switch was made late last month for operational efficiency reasons, the department said, because any decline in a test's accuracy forces more steps to determine the real result.

City health officials, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and OraSure Technologies, the maker of the test, are investigating to figure out what caused the uptick.