Saliva HIV test passes the grade

A saliva self-test used to diagnose human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is comparable in accuracy to the traditional blood test, according to a new study in Lancet Infectious Diseases (January 24, 2012).

The meta-analysis, conducted by researchers from McGill University, showed that the saliva HIV test, OraQuick HIV1/2 (OraSure Technologies), had the same accuracy as the blood test for high-risk populations, the according to the study authors. The test sensitivity was slightly reduced for low-risk populations.

The researchers analyzed and synthesized real-life field research data from five worldwide databases. Their findings showed that the saliva test is 99% accurate for HIV in high-risk populations and about 97% in low-risk populations.

The oral HIV test has become one of the most popular tests because of its acceptability and ease of use. It is noninvasive and produces results in 20 minutes.

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