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Beijing to offer free spit tests for AIDS/HIV
Updated: 2008-12-01 20:56

BEIJING -- Beijing is going to offer spit tests for AIDS/HIV free of charge, instead of the traditional blood tests, early in December, local anti-AIDS official said on Monday.

The spit test, a newly-developed method of AIDS/HIV virus testing by using oral fluid samples instead of blood, will be offered at three hospitals in the capital city.

Xiao Dong, director of the Beijing Association of STD & AIDS Prevention and Control, told Xinhua that the Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group, a non-governmental organization, would give out 10,000 spit testing kits donated by Beijing Calypte-Marr Bio-Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to Beijing Jing Cheng Skin Diseases Hospital and two community hospitals for free.

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Developed by the American company Calypte Biomedical Corporation, the spit test for AIDS/HIV can have results in about 20 minutes by using a swab to brush gums and a test strip to show "positive" or "negative", said Xiao.

Clinical studies conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), No.302 Military Hospital and Ditan Hospital in 2007 showed an accuracy of 99.3 percent among the 3,276 participants.

"The Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group also did comparison tests on 300 college students randomly recruited and 300 patients already proven to be HIV positive," Xiao said. "We found the accuracy was around 97 percent."

The correct way to get samples is to brush the upper gums for about 45 seconds and the lower gums for the same amount of time, according to Xiao.

The move aims to make it easier for AIDS/HIV testing in areas where blood drawing facilities are limited and for certain groups such as obese persons and those with impaired access to veins. It would also minimize the risk of accidental infection in blood drawing, said Xiao.