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Comparison of saliva and serum for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 antibody testing in Uganda using a rapid recombinant assay.

  • R M Grant
  • E M Piwowar
  • E Katongole-Mbidde
  • W Muzawalu
  • S Rugera
  • J Abima
  • S L Stramer
  • P Kataaha
  • B Jackson
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1996
  • Medicine


The accuracy and acceptability of saliva human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) antibody testing were compared with serum testing in a study of paired specimens from HIV-1-seropositive and HIV-1-seronegative Ugandan adults attending a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases. Saliva collection was performed with the Omni-sal device (Saliva Diagnostic Systems, Vancouver, Wash.), and antibody testing was performed by a rapid filter paper assay (Test-Pack; Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill.). Relative to serum testing, the sensitivity of saliva testing was 95% (195 of 205) and the specificity was 99% (295 of 297). The sensitivity of saliva testing was higher for patients with elevated levels of beta-2 microglobulin in sera and greater numbers of HIV-1-related symptoms. Pre- and poststudy interviews indicated that saliva testing did not foster inordinate fears of saliva exposure. The development of saliva tests that are inexpensive and do not require electricity is needed.

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