The Acceptability of Oral Fluid Testing for HIV Antibodies: A Pilot Study in Gay Bars in a Predominantly Rural State

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Abstract

Background:

One barrier for individuals desiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing has been the lack of alternatives to blood HIV testing. Oral fluid HIV testing provides another testing option.

Objectives:

To evaluate the acceptability of oral fluid testing for HIV antibodies in a gay bar outreach setting.

Study Design:

This pilot study was conducted using the HIV Risk Behavior Survey (HRBS) and OraSure acceptability survey in gay bars in Columbia, South Carolina during July and August, 1997.

Results:

Of the 118 HRBS participants, 54% agreed to take the oral fluid test with 6% testing positive. A majority (91%) of participants felt comfortable with the oral HIV antibody testing in gay bars. Also, 21.8% of individuals in the OraSure study were tested for the first time.

Conclusion:

This study indicates that oral fluid testing for HIV antibodies in an outreach setting is acceptable and effective in reaching individuals who do not usually access traditional testing sites.

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