Washington: Researchers including one of an Indian origin have revealed that saliva test used to diagnose the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is comparable in accuracy to the traditional blood test.
A new study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and McGill University found that the saliva HIV test, OraQuick HIV1/2, had the same accuracy as the blood test for high-risk populations.
However, the test sensitivity was slightly reduced for low risk populations.
The finding has major implications for countries that wish to adopt self-testing strategies for HIV.
“Testing is the cornerstone of prevention, treatment and care strategies,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Nitika Pant Pai, a medical scientist at the RI-MUHC and assistant professor of Medicine at McGill University.
“Although previous studies have shown that the oral fluid-based OraQuick HIV1/2 test has great promise, ours is the first to evaluate its potential at a global level,” she stated.
Dr. Pant Pai and her colleagues analysed and synthesized real-life field research data from five worldwide databases. They found that the saliva test is 99 percent accurate for HIV in high-risk populations, and about 97 percent in low risk populations.
The oral HIV test has become one of the most popular tests because of its acceptability and ease of use. It is non-invasive, pain-free, and convenient and produces results in 20 minutes.
The study was published in this week’s issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.