Due to concerns raised over what type of HIV tests are acceptable and appropriate for monthly performer screenings, APHSS.org has announced that it will accept two different brands of HIV tests.

For years, our industry utilized PCR-DNA as the off-label standard HIV test for performers. Although not sanctioned by the FDA for diagnosis, the medical professionals at AIM chose this test because it was the best test to determine the presence of HIV — especially for acute infections.

After considerable research and contact with infectious disease specialists, pathologists and physicians, APHSS.org has identified two tests that best meet the needs of the performer population. They are the Aptima HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay and the Abbot RealTime HIV 1 Assay.

The Aptima HIV-1 RNA Qualitative test is approved by the FDA for diagnosis and detection of acute (early) HIV infection.

The Abbot RealTime HIV 1 Assay is FDA-approved for determining viral load.  Medical experts have assured APHSS.org that the Abbot test is a good option for determining the presence of HIV for adult performers.

“After speaking with a number of medical professionals, it was clear to us that both tests will be a significant improvement over the PCR DNA,” said Diane Duke FSC Executive Director.  “Some of the experts prefer the Abbot test and some prefer the Aptima test. All agreed that both tests are effective for our purposes.”

For some HIV tests, the “window period” – the time between the point of infection until the virus is detectable – has decreased to as little as 9-to-11 days. And, tests have become increasingly sensitive, thus increasing the accuracy of test results.

Both the Abbot and Aptima tests have the 9-to-11 day window. While the Aptima test is sanctioned by the FDA for detection and diagnosis, use of the Abbot test has also been identified by experts as an excellent option for the industry because of the doctor’s ability to know the value of the viral load.

Beginning May 15th all APHSS testing sites will utilize either the Abbot or Aptima PCR RNA tests.

If you need more information on APHSS.org or performer testing, please contact diane@freespeechcoalition.com. APHSS.org is administered by Free Speech Coalition (FSC).

(Graphic: Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Association)

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