Insurance Companies Among Users Of Urine HIV Test

MetLife and Country Life Insurance are among 20 leading U.S. life insurance companies that are using a new urine test that detects the presence of the antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 (HIV-1), which causes AIDS. The test, HIV-1 Western Blot, is made by Calypte Biomedical Corp., Berkeley, Calif., and was licensed by the Food and Drug Administration June 1. Urine testing offers significant advantages compared with existing blood-based HIV tests -- highly accurate results, lower overall costs, ease of use for health-care workers, simultaneous testing for tobacco use and drug abuse, greater consumer acceptance, and elimination of accidental needle sticks, according to the company. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no evidence that HIV is spread through urine.

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