[Question #4391] Question #4376 follow up

30 months ago
hello Doctor(s):

academically i find this question of Oraquick fascinating, i am following up as i really believe this chat will be helpful to others who browse this board.

having spoken to Fenway HIV health clinic in Boston and the San Francisco City Clinic, thinking they are two well known and finger on the pulse operations, both said that Oraquick is definitive and conclusive, if administered properly after 12 weeks.  both went on to claim it is as good as the tests they use in their clinics.  also, on POZ and TheBody.com, two similar boards to this, i found other posts that claim the same from their experts.

all of this leads me to: why does Oraquick, here, and on some other sites, not have the same 'definitive and conclusive' attributes that other experts and clinics seem to characterize the test with?

really very curious.

is there such a thing as a 100% accurate diagnostic test?

so many thanks
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
30 months ago
I think the answer to your question lies in the purpose of the test.  The OraQuick is our least favorite test and and performs SLIGHTLY LESS WELL  than other, laboratory based tests for HIV.  For most individuals, there is little difference in the accuracy of a single test taken at the appropriate time ( as you know, different tests become positive at different time points after acquisition of infection).  Thus for any individual, given the low risk that a partner has infection (most people do not have HIV), the low risk for infection with any exposure ( no matter what the type of exposure, less than 1% and sometime much lower), and the very good performance of all tests for HIV, these tests are equivalent.  OTOH, when you consider thousands of tests, the OraQuick test unequivocally performs SLIGHTLY less well than other tests.  

As you point out, there is no such thing as a 100% accurate test.  That said, ALL currently approved tests provide excellent, accurate results.

A quick perusal of questions on our site will show you that a disproportionate number of this sites clients are quite anxious.  We provide the best available data based on current science,  I hope this helps. For the vast majority of patients the OraQuick assay is an excellent test.  EWH
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30 months ago
thank you, that is helpful.

so the takeaway is: for any unique individual, Oraquick at the appropriate time is conclusive, or as conclusive, as any other test, but in the context of thousands or more tests, in the total aggregate, Oraquick does not perform as well as other tests?

so for me personally: take my results as neg from multiple Oraquick tests  (well past 6 moths since exposures) to the bank and  MOVE ON.

correct?

(insert smiling face here)
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
30 months ago
Your summary is right on target.  I encourage you to accept your OraQuick results and move forward.  EWH---