DOH suspends oral HIV testing due to false positives

Last week, the Department of Health announced that they would suspend use of the saliva (oral swab) rapid test for HIV in their clinics due to an unusually high number of false positives in the past several months. All rapid test results in their clinics that come back positive require a second, more thorough blood test to confirm. Though the false positive rate was still below the FDA threshold for false positives, NYC decided to suspend the use of the oral swab until they can determine the cause of the higher rate of false positives.

Even so, testing is still anonymous, safe, and free, and just requires a simple finger-prick test at any of the NYC Department of Health clinics. You can also get confidential testing at Gay Men’s Health Crisis or a number of other providers around the city. (Anonymous means that your name is never given to the testing facility and you are assigned a random number; confidential means that your test results will only be disclosed to the state Department of Health and will not be disclosed to anyone else, including employers and insurance companies.) In all cases, HIV testing is quick, easy, and free in NYC.

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