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20 Min HIV Test

 

Updated : May 22, 2009

A mouth swab HIV test that can deliver a result in 20 minutes has been made available on the NHS for the first time and could made available in Ireland soon.

Doctors at a London hospital expect to carry out around 250 of the tests per month.

Barts and the London NHS Trust is the first in the UK to introduce the saliva test for NHS patients after a trial which showed it was as effective as a blood test.

Three quarters of patients questioned in a survey said they preferred it to the conventional test.

Patients tested for the Aids virus previously had to wait a week for their results.

The new test, which uses a special absorbent toothbrush to collect saliva samples from the mouth, provides a result in just 20 minutes.

Merie Symonds, head of sexual health at the Trust, said: 'Approximately a third of people in the UK who are HIV positive are currently unaware of their condition.

'There are still very real problems due to people who are not testing until they have become unwell as a result of undiagnosed HIV infection. This means that treatment that is now widely available may not work as effectively.

 

 

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