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Oral HIV swab
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LeLe80 posted:
I recently went to go get tested for HIV...which is something I have not done in a long time. I went to a clinic where they offered free HIV test. I smoked a cigarette outside to calm my nerves. When I went in they told me that is was an oral HIV test. I informed the tester that I had just smoked and she said that it was fine. She gave me the swab and informed me to swab my gums. I got a negative result and thought that I was okay. I later read that you are only supposed to swab your gums once. The lady had me swab more than once...now I am starting to wonder did she cause me to have a false negative because she had me swab more than once. What is the significance of swabbing only once? I also read somewhere that you should not eat, drink, smoke or use oral care products 30 minutes to the test. I called Orasure and they stated that smoking does not affect the test. Okay well why is it that drinking and eating does and smoking does not?. Also, it has been stated that this test only relies on an antigen called gp41 as I understand now....there are more than one antigen specific to HIV. Is it possible to have one antigen in your body and not the other?. There have been reports that state that people in early and late infection do not have this antibody in their system...so why would they rely on this one antigen? Last time I checked there was no time limit on HIV test but with this test it seems as if you test to early it is inaccurate or if you wait to late it is inaccurate. I am also confused as to what this test is testing. Some say it is OMT and some say that it is your cells. Okay, which one is it? If it is OMT, can somebody on earth please explain to me where this stuff comes from and how is it compared to blood. If it is similar to blood...then why doesn't this test have the same accuracy as a blood test? Then there are the talks of human error....I swear this test process is making more frightened as I am typing. I read somewhere where some people get faint lines on their test. I mean how faint are they? Are they so fain that you can not even see them? At this point I do not know whether I can even say that I am truly negative. I am afraid that if I get my blood drawn....that my blood might react to some other antigen that this test did not have or the fact that this woman had me swab more than once contaminated whatever they are testing a caused me to have a false negative. Then again maybe smoking does really affect the test and Orasure does not know this. Then there is the theory of a faint line that was so faint that it could not be seen. I am just sitting here thinking to myself. What were they thinking when they approved this test. I understand that some people do test positive on this test and that is something that is running through my head. That maybe I should be extremely greatful and stop thinking of all the "what ifs". Maybe my fears and guilt are getting the best of me. I just need better understanding of this test to help calm some of my fear. I know that I will not be able to rest until I just go get my finger pricked. I just wanted to know that this test has some validity. Are there any professionals out there that can answer my questions before I drive myself insane. Thank you in advance for your responses and help.
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georgiagail responded:
Testing using the rapid Orasure method is very commonly used by many clinics as the results are available while patients are still present and waiting. It has been designed to be rather idiot proof in terms of gathering the sample and doing the testing and the results are quite accurate whether one swabs their gums once, more than once or smokes, drinks and/or eats prior to undertaking the test.

It is obvious that you do not feel comfortable with this test. Go and get tested using a blood sample. Your blood is not going to "react" to some other antigen that the Orasure did not have or the fact that you ran the swab over your gums more than once.

Gail
 
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LeLe80 replied to georgiagail's response:
Gail,
I understand what you are saying. I do not feel comfortable with this test at all. I do not feel comfortable with it because even though antibodies can be found in every single body fluid of an infected person, it seems as though the concentration in oral fluid is quite low. I also do not understand how the antibodies even get into the oral fluid which leaves me kind of skeptical. Also, I am kind of nervous because the oral test resembles a pregnancy test and during my days in college I have learned that if you stick a pregnancy test in water....you get a negative result by default because water does not have the pregnancy hormones in it. I guess what I am getting at is....can this test be tricked. Would you get a negative result if you stuck the test in water, would you get a negative if actual saliva instead of oral fluid got on the test, would you get a negative result if you swab your tongue instead of your gums? Or does test only work if you got the right specimen on it? Does it know that oral fluid is on the strip and will it not work at all if anything other than what is supposed to be on the strip is on there?

As far as the antigen situation is concerned. I read an article on medscape that stated that an individual arrived at a hospital because he was sick. He was tested with the oral test three times and received a negative result each time BUT when they did an ELISA and Western Blot HIV infection was confirmed. On his Western Blot, there was a weak reaction to gp41 antigen but a strong reaction to gp160 antigen. It was stated that the reason why the oral test was inaccurate was because the Oraquick Advance relies on a single antigen....the gp41 and people with late stage infection have a weak reaction to this particular antigen. This is why I am concerned because it seems as though you can react to different types of antigen. Could you please explain this? There is also the question of faulty equipment. What if the equipment was expired, stored at the wrong temperature, or was just defective....would it still work and give you a negative result. I am just trying to make sure that this test is full proof. I am aware that nothing in this world is 100% but I just do not want to be walking around with the notion that I am okay when I am really not. It seems like this particular test causes a lot of anxiety, not only with myself but with so many others as well. There are two many limitations with this test. Even the fact that they approved it for home use. It is stated that this test is less sensitive because of consumer error. Humans are Humans and can make the same errors whether they are trained or not. I am not saying that is cannot happen with any other test but it is very, very, very rare that you here of someone testing negative with a blood test in a clinical setting outside the window period and then find later that it was a false negative. With this test....it has happened on a more than rare occasion. I am just scared out of mind to the point that my life has been consumed with this situation. I thought I was doing that right thing by getting tested but now I feel like I never did and I am still unsure of my status, unsure of whether I am going live or die a horrible death because I took the wrong type of test. I guess quick and fast doesn't always mean accurate.
 
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georgiagail replied to LeLe80's response:
The oral testing does not rely on saliva but rather oral mucosa; thus the recommendation to swab the area.

Folks with end stage HIV (i.e., AIDS) have immune systems that have been severely damaged by the virus and will often not be able to produce antibodies to any infection or test. This is what kills them; not the actual virus but rather infections they cannot fight off at the end stage of this disease.

This has nothing to do with you. If you were late stage HIV you would be presenting with some very severe symptoms (I'm assuming you are not experiencing such things as significant weight loss, frequent diarrhea, specific types of pneumonia, sarcoma's, etc..).

Go take a blood test. You are convinced the oral tests are faulty when in truth, they are quite accurate. However, getting a blood test is the only way you will be confident of your status.

Gail
 
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LeLe80 replied to georgiagail's response:
Gail,

I am trying to get up the nerve to get a blood test. I am just so afraid of the outcome. I have not experienced any of the symptoms that you described. However I have experienced tinea versicolor on my neck and folliculitis on my leg, which prompted me to go a get tested in the first place. I had a CBC done last year and it was normal so I am guessing that if I did in fact have AIDS my blood work would have been abnormal and I would have been experiencing alot more problems than minor skin problems. I was convinced that I was infected because I have never in my life experienced any skin issues before accept acne. I thought once the negative result was read...I would be relieved. Now I am afraid that something went wrong with the test. I guess I feel that way because I have no other explanation for the skin issues. I understand that there other issues in the world besides HIV but when you have been sexually active and you experience wired things...you automatically assume that HIV is the problem. The internet does not help either because every time you look up skin problems...the first thing that pops up is HIV.

I understand that you are saying that the oral HIV test is quite accurate and I am sure that it is. But I am convinced that it is faulty because of people performing it. I sit and ask myself "if the test was designed to look for antibodies....how could it possibly miss them if they were there?" but after reading so many things it seems as though expert have been saying that there is a small margin of error with the oral test and can not explain why. The test is very simple I mean....you are just swabbing your gums for heavens sake how could you possibly mess it up. But people have found away to do so and that's what scares me. I pray to GOD everyday that I will go get this blood test and hear the words "negative" because I have promised myself and GOD that I will never put myself through this ever again. Thank you so much for listening to me and God Bless you.
 
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georgiagail replied to LeLe80's response:
Wait a second. You are convinced you are HIV positive because of tinea versicolor on your neck and folliculitis on your leg?

Tinea versicolor is a very common fungal infection on the skin. My own partner has this; it flares up in the summer as we live in a hot humid part of the country (Georgia), then fades away in the cooler winter months. He certainly isn't HIV positive and he's had this for as long as I've known him (way over a decade). If he was HIV positive he'd likely be dead by now and I'd be infected.

You can't jump to the conclusion that you must be positive because of these "symptoms" which have nothing to do with HIV. Accept your oral test results or go get tested, get the negative result and put your concerns behind you and then you can stop worrying about all of this.

Gail
 
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LeLe80 replied to georgiagail's response:
Gail,

I am trying very hard to accept the oral swab results the only reason that I am having a hard time accepting it is because of articles that I read that clearly state that this test seems to miss infections. You can find one of the articles on www.thebody.com. There is an article by an HIV specialist by the name of David Pilcher who conducted a private study and found the oral test only detected 86% of infections....most were acute infections but some were not. I am very afraid that I am one of these people. You also say go and get a blood test and get my negative result like it is definite that I will get a negative result. There are to many facts out there concerning this test stating that it is not all that reliable. If it were, there would be no conflicts or contradictory about it. I am extremely frightened and confused about what the blood test will say because of the information is out there about this test. People keep saying that it is FDA approved and if it were not reliable they would not use it...but what people are not understanding is that the FDA and the people from Orasure are not the ones conducting the test. Ordinary people who take a training class are the ones giving the test and from what I understand, it seems that every single clinic is trained differently. So you have all these people out there that may or may not have the wrong results. I am not understanding why this is being allowed or why the test is still even offered. I even heard a nurse say "those are not real HIV and should not be taken seriously" When I asked her why she said that...she stated "everyone knows that HIV is a disease that affects the blood so what makes them think that you can test for it any other way". I almost used the bathroom on myself in fear when she said this because it made since. No one has yet to explain how they are testing for HIV through your mouth. Yes, I understand that the test is looking for antibodies....but how do they get there and are they definitely there? I am just scared senseless right now and have even considered ending my life. I just wish that I knew for sure that I was negative without having to take another test.
 
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LeLe80 replied to LeLe80's response:
Hi Gail,

It is me again...okay so I took your advice and I went to give a sample of blood. It was a finger prick test called "clearview complete" Yay me. It was negative...however, I still have a concern and I would gladly except your and any other professionals expertise on this matter. Okay, here goes...the persona who performed my test pricked my finger and slightly squeezed my finger to get a blood sample, he did not wipe away the first drop of blood, he used the first one. I now have read that you are not supposed to squeeze the finger due to the possibility of excess tissue fluid and that you are supposed to wipe away the first drop of blood. Do you know how these minor details affect the test results??? Please help me because I am tired of living this nightmare. Thank you
 
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georgiagail replied to LeLe80's response:
No, these details would have NO effect on the accuracy of the test results.

You have to accept the very good news that you are HIV negative and just let these worries about being positive drop.

Gail


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