To all interested parties, my name is Dr. David Reznik and I serve as Chief of the Dental Service and Director of the Oral Health Center at the Infectious Disease Program of Grady Health Systems in Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of this statement is to urge BPAC and the FDA to support the availability of an FDA-approved, rapid, oral fluid HIV screening test for over-the-counter use.
In an attempt to convey a bit more about my interest in supporting this issue, I am a member of Emory University’s School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease faculty, founder of HIVdent, a non-profit committed to assuring access to high quality oral health care services for adults, adolescents and children living with HIV disease and the first dentist to be named a member of the core faculty of the International AIDS Society – USA. Through HIVdent I have had the honor of working with numerous organizations around the country providing technical assistance for the provision of comprehensive HIV care and treatment.
I am of the opinion that there is ample data available today to support the broader availability of the new rapid HIV screening test technology. This technology has been FDA approved since late 2002 and was granted a CLIA waiver by President Bush in 2003. Since then more people than ever are learning their HIV status and receiving prompt treatment as a result of this simple, highly accurate, rapid HIV test. For many residents of the United States that are unaware of their HIV status, providing access to this technology over-the-counter would remove some of the barriers to HIV testing. Studies have shown that many who test positive for HIV infection via today’s standard of care do not return for their results. Studies have also shown that once a person is aware of their status, if positive, they are up to 70% less likely to engage in behaviors that will place themselves and others in jeopardy. Also, research performed by Dr. Michael Saag, et al has documented that early entry in to care and treatment leads to better outcomes.
I welcome the opportunity to assist you in this dialogue going forward and ask that a copy of my remarks be entered into the record.