Archival Content: 1999-2005
What is rapid HIV testing?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several HIV antibody tests that can provide results in minutes, using a drop of blood or fluid from the mouth. Positive rapid tests results must always be confirmed by standard HIV antibody laboratory tests.
Rapid testing has several big advantages:
- Because people can get tested and learn their results in one session, rapid testing helps ensure that people learn their HIV status.
- Because people learn their results so soon after the test, outreach workers can immediately begin working with HIV-positive individuals to help them reduce risks of transmitting the infection to others and help them get into medical care and other needed services.
- Outreach workers also can stay connected with high-risk individuals who test HIV-negative to advise them on ways of reducing risk and to suggest they get tested again in the future.
- Because rapid tests are easy to administer, they make it easier for outreach workers to bring counseling, testing, and referral services to IDUs and others at high risk in their own communities.
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