Being Alive 1995 Feb 5: 1
The FDA recently approved the use of OraSure, a saliva test
for HIV antibodies. This test can now be used by clinics as
an alternative to the blood test for HIV antibodies. People
reluctant to have blood drawn can be tested by the taking of
an oral swab of saliva. Saliva testing is slightly less
sensitive than blood testing; the false negative rate is
believed to be about 2%.
We should emphasize that the virus itself does not live in
saliva. The test, like the blood test that has been available
since early 1985, tests for antibodies to the virus, not for
the presence of HIV itself. Also, OraSure is not for "home"
testing. The home testing kit that has been discussed in the
media has yet to be approved by the FDA.