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Author Topic: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available  (Read 3057 times)

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Offline LAtester

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Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« on: September 12, 2006, 02:19:30 PM »
The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center is now offering free Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing as part of its regular HIV screening program.  The Gay and Lesbian Center has joined other similar programs offered in North Carolina and Massachusetts in an attempt to "close the window" earlier than traditional antibody screening.  By "closing the window" earlier, this program will have several important outcomes.  First, true positives will learn of their status prior to seroconversion, enabling them to join important research trials studying early HAART therapy.  Also, identifying true positives soon after infection will help decrease the spread of the virus.  The period immediately after infection is when a person is most likely to pass the virus on to someone else.

The free NAAT screening also benefits the WWs.  By "closing the window" earlier than a 12/13 week antibody screening, this testing protocol enables a concerned individual (regardless of the rationality of their concern!) to return to an even keel much earlier than a 12/13 week antibody protocol.  In addition, the tester receives important information about reducing risk in the future.

The staff and counselors at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center are extraordinarily professional and knowledgeable.  They are stating to testers that a negative NAAT test coupled with a negative antibody test (also free) at 4 WEEKS is conclusive evidence that one is NOT INFECTED.  This timeline is actually more conservative than the timeline used by the Red Cross for the same testing protocol in its guidelines to ensure the safety of the blood supply! 

If you are in or around LA and concerned about an exposure to HIV, I encourage you to make use of the Center's services.  If you are truly positive, you will gain the opportunity to make potentially critical health decisions at an early point and avoid exposing your partners to the virus.  If you are truly negative, you will be able to conclusively "close the window" and get back to a peaceful frame of mind.


Offline jwolfan26

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2006, 08:54:58 PM »
What days and times do they offer testing there?

What do the experts here think of the testing procedures offered there?

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 09:00:35 PM »
Hey Wolf,

I've reported this thread so that the Goderators can review it. NAT testing is used, as I understand, to screen pooled blood supplies like those taken by the Red Cross.

I believe Goderator Ann is seeking further advice from Tim Horn about the AIDSMEDS position on NAT testing. Until we have a definitive answer from the powers that be, I would recommend that all people who believe that they may have exposed to HIV should continue to seek ELISA testing 12-13 weeks after the incident.

MtD

Offline jwolfan26

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 09:03:17 PM »
Maybe Ann or someone else from the site could contact the officials at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center to get more information on the program to see if it's legit????

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 09:04:39 PM »
I'm sure that the AIDSMEDS administration will be able to provide us with the skinny on this outfit.

Don't let this freak you out Wolf. We'll have an answer soon.

MtD

Offline Ann

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2006, 05:17:48 AM »
Tim Horn is on holiday at the moment, so there won't be an official AIDSmeds answer on NAT testing until he's back and has time to act.

However, I already know what the bottom line here is going to be. While the newer generations and types of tests will catch hiv infection early, they cannot rule hiv OUT conclusively until the three month mark. In the case of an actual risk, ANY negative test result, NAT testing or otherwise, must be confirmed at three months.

ANY generation of ELISA is conclusive at three months. There is no need for any other type of test at three months other than an ELISA, except of course in the case of a positive ELISA at three months, whereby a Western Blot must be performed for confirmation.

We know that most people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks. However, until more time has passed and more data has been subjected to rigorous review, the official window period is going to stay at three months, just to catch the rare person who takes slightly longer than six weeks to test positive. It's a case of "better safe than sorry". Hiv is nothing to guess about.

If a person has had a real risk of hiv infection (ie unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse) the wise and prudent thing to do is test once at six weeks and confirm a negative six week result at three months.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline LAtester

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2006, 02:24:24 PM »
The officials at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center have extensive experience in testing people who have put themselves at high risk.  While the Center does not adhere to the FDA/CDC line that only a 13 week ELISA is conclusive proof of non-infection, they base their assertion that a 4 week NAAT/ELISA negative is conclusive on SOLID SCIENCE.

In fact, the American Red Cross, entrusted with ensuring the safety of the nation's blood supply uses the EXACT SAME TEST (pooled samples) to guarantee that HIV infection is not passed on through blood transfusions!  The Red Cross will tell you (and check it in their literature on line!) that the NAAT test reduces the window period to 12 days!  The LA Gay and Lesbian Center extends that window to 4 weeks to be sure!

Why people insist on adhering to FDA/CDC guidelines when the scientific evidence is clear and already used by MANY established agencies (Red Cross, WHO, various gay and lesbian organizations, Mass. Dept. of Health, etc.) is beyond my comprehension!

The federal government has always dragged its heals in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Remember, years passed in the early 1980's before the federal government even tossed a few million towards research!  The FDA only fast-tracked medicines after bowing to enormous pressure from grass-roots organizations (ACT-UP).  Yet now people look to these groups for policy on accurate testing????

Trust the science, not the federal bureaucracy!  That's what the Red Cross, LAGLC, Massachusetts, etc. are doing!

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2006, 05:20:05 PM »
Yeah, yeah tester. We get the message. You've got an agenda. Good for you.

Thing is, Am I Infected? is a fourm where people seek advice on HIV transmission and testing. Not a general discussion forum or place for advertising. You've said your piece, we understand, move on.

MtD

Offline LAtester

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2006, 05:51:52 PM »
Matty -
Why is it that those that espouse a 12/13 week window are appropriately adhering to the forum's purpose of fostering discussion and offering advice on HIV transmission and testing...but those that offer information about credible, "peer reviewed," established agencies that are in the forefront of "closing the window" have an agenda??

My "agenda" is to do two things:
1)  help identify true positives at an early stage.  ALL studies relating to this topic establish that such early identification will enable people to seek early, perhaps life-saving HAART...AND will help prevent the further spread of the virus during this early stage of high levels of viremia!
2)  help identify true negatives earlier.  The discussion threads on this board make it clear that many people suffer from extreme emotional, mental, and spiritual distress when they believe that they may have been infected with HIV.  Regardless of the rationality of their fear, that fear is real to them!  If alternative testing strategies, solidly rooted in science, can help these individuals "close the window" six to eight weeks earlier than the CDC guidelines, then those alternative testing strategies merit consideration! 

I don't quite understand how such an "agenda" is a disservice to anyone???

Offline Ann

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2006, 07:16:15 PM »
LA,

The thing is, posts like yours in a forum like this only creates confusion. Not everyone who posts here has access to the testing you are advocating. Until such time as people do, we are sticking by the "test at three months for a conclusive result" rule of thumb.

If you don't like that.... ~shrug~

I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline LAtester

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2006, 08:20:16 PM »
Ann -
I COMPLETELY agree with you.  THat's why I titled my original entry, "Are You Worried in LA?".  It was simply an attempt to alert individuals in the LA area of this program offering NAAT testing.

Offline Ann

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Re: Are You Worried in LA? NAT Available
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2006, 08:26:40 PM »
LA,

Good, we're on the same page then and I hope it is safe to assume you understand that we had to clarify the window period once you brought this subject up.

Cheers,
Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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