Health Department Begins Use of New Oral HIV Tests

The new oral HIV-1 antibody testing system will allow the Pasadena Public Health Department to expand its AIDS screening services, officials said Wednesday.

The department plans to open additional testing sites at the AIDS Service Center, the Passageway Multi-Service Center for the Homeless and Pasadena City College by January, said Kimberly Green, AIDS program coordinator for the department. The college center will only be available to students.

Using the OraSure system for all HIV-1 antibody testing will eliminate the need for a phlebotomist so counselors can administer tests, Green said. The department began using the testing systems on Monday, World AIDS Day.

The testers collect HIV-1 antibodies from the mouth by placing a specially treated pad between the cheek and the gum. The collected oral mucosal transudate is then examined like a blood sample.