n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - Current status of oral fluid testing for HIV antibodies in South Africa : laboratory

Volume 2, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



Alternative specimens to blood, such as saliva and urine, have been considered for HIV antibody (anti-HIV) testing. However, concerns regarding anti-HIV salivary testing have been raised, including the fact that few such evaluations have been done in the local situation. Although a sample of saliva cannot meet the specific requirements for techniques detecting anti-HIV, oral mucosal transudate (OMT) appears to fulfil the criteria. The OMT sampling and collection is not a saliva-based system and has been shown to be a highly accurate alternative to blood testing for anti-HIV. To overcome the problems with sampling, the OMT collection pad has been devised and together with an anti-HIV-1 oral fluid assay, has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FOA) for individual patient HIV diagnosis. The University of Pretoria is currently evaluating the role of oral fluid anti-HIV testing in local high- and low-risk populations, and preliminary data comparing blood and oral fluid specimens are encouraging.

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