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Being Alive
Saliva Test for HIV Antibodies Approved
Mark Katz, MD, and reported by Jim Stoecker
February 5, 1995
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.