With summer just a few weeks away, experts are saying that the window to prepare for Zika in the United States is rapidly closing. U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) visited OraSure Technologies, which recently announced that it is developing a Zika test based on its OraQuick platform.
Senator Casey stated that a rapid diagnostic would allow doctors to quickly determine if a patient has been exposed to infection with the Zika virus, enabling appropriate follow-up care for the patient and minimizing the burden on public health laboratories. He added that accurate diagnostic tools are also necessary for vaccine and drug development. Senator Casey continued his push for the $1.9 billion in emergency appropriations that the public health community says they need to combat Zika and that would enable companies like OraSure to bring forth much needed innovation.
Following his remarks, Senator Casey toured OraSure manufacturing with OraSure’s President and CEO Doug Michels to learn more about the Company’s process of creating rapid diagnostic tools that have successfully diagnosed critical medical conditions such as HIV, Hepatitis C, and Ebola.
OraSure employees attend 2016 Top Workplace Gala
OraSure Technologies was selected as one of the region’s top places to work by The Morning Call. Recognized as a 2016 Top Workplace, OraSure was just one of 15 companies who were selected among midsize employers (125-499 employees) in the greater Lehigh Valley region. OraSure also received a special award for being the highest ranked Company (among all employers) by its employees for the outstanding benefits it offers.
“We are very proud of our employees and the important work we are all doing to help save lives,” said OraSure president and CEO, Douglas A. Michels.
The Morning Call’s Top Workplaces were selected from the results of an employee survey conducted by Workplace Dynamics which measured qualities such as company leadership, communication, career opportunities, working environment, managerial skills, pay and benefits. This was the second time that OraSure has received this distinction.
December 1st marked the 28th annual World AIDS Day, a day where people worldwide unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. In support of this day, OraSure teamed with The D.I.V.A. Foundation and Greater Than AIDS to provide OraQuick® HIV test kits to various organizations in the South that have been disproportionately impacted by HIV and did not have the resources to conduct testing in outreach areas.
To further increase awareness around World AIDS Day and the importance of getting tested, OraSure supported an east coast media tour with actress and HIV/AIDS Activist, Sheryl Lee Ralph, founder of The D.I.V.A. Foundation. Highlights included television interviews on WPIX-NYC Morning Show and Positively Black; a video feature with Hello Beautiful; articles in the Huffington Post and Philly.com; radio interviews on Tom Joyner, Everyday Health (SiriusXM) and Bevalations (SiriusXM), Sway in the Morning (SiriusXM) and WDAS-FM; and a Twitter chat on Ebony.com.
Also in conjunction with World AIDS Day, Population Services International (PSI) and UNITAID announced the launch of a pilot program that will be the world’s largest evaluation of HIV self-testing to date, using an investigational use version of the OraQuick® HIV-1/2 Antibody Test. The HIV Self- Testing Africa (STAR) Project will be deployed in three high burden African countries (Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) over the next two years.
Dunwoody Village is a non-denominational, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community nestled in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. The community was established in 1974 and today is home to 450 residents and 425 employees, half of whom are part-time or casual high school and college students.
With hundreds of prospective employee interviews taking place each year, Dunwoody Village was looking to streamline and strengthen its hiring protocol and process, which included a mandatory drug test for all applicants. Following a thorough evaluation of potential drug testing options, Dunwoody Village chose to simplify its drug-testing program with OraSure Technologies’ Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test.
Prior to implementing Intercept®, Dunwoody Village relied on urine-based testing, a method that was time consuming, provided limited control to the organization and its administrators, and didn’t incorporate the element of surprise that on-site testing provides. The background checks, appointments, tests and paper work required for employment already take at least 9 days due to the requirement for a two-step PPD test so the on-site testing doesn’t add one more potential delay to our onboarding process.
“We have witnessed numerous benefits since we brought Intercept® into our employee candidate screening process,” said Curt Sayers, Director of Human Resources. “In addition to the convenience and simplicity, there has been a cost savings benefit to our organization, and we continue to be amazed by the high accuracy of the test.”
Dunwoody Village has been able to administer the Intercept test conveniently in the HR suite but also in in any location, anytime, eliminating the need for private bathrooms and same-sex test administrators that are required for urine-based testing. Because the collection is not done behind closed doors, sample tampering or adulteration is virtually impossible. This test delivers proven laboratory reliability and accuracy comparable to urine testing.
The new testing method has been well received by the staff at Dunwoody Village. In addition to the staff that completes testing on a regular basis for potential employees, various supervisors have been trained in the event that a situation arises during off-hours. Dunwoody Village actually introduced the new drug testing program by providing demonstrations to employees (conducted by Red Planet Testing) during a quarterly employee team meeting. The Village operates 24/7/365.
“We are thrilled with how oral fluid drug testing with Intercept has improved the prospective employees’ experience with a more dignified collection process,” concluded Sayers.
Many organizations across the country that are looking to simplify the process of employee drug testing have turned to third party administrator USA Mobile Drug Testing (USAMDT), a national mobile drug testing company that sends certified compliance specialists directly to the employer. The company's efficient model has proven to save time and money for employers, while providing convenient 24/7, on-site services.
At USAMDT's Houston, Texas location, the clients range from longshoremen to white-collar workers in professional settings. They use the Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test to meet many of their clients' needs for workplace drug testing. The use of oral fluid testing has resulted in saved resources and improved client experiences.
The Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test is non-invasive and can be administered in any location, anytime, eliminating the need for private bathrooms and same-sex test administrators. And because the collection is not done behind closed doors, sample tampering or adulteration is virtually impossible. This test delivers proven laboratory reliability and accuracy comparable to urine testing.
"The ability to directly observe the sample collection process without the use of a bathroom has kept the dignity of the donors intact," said Tona Trondsen, CPCT, president of USAMDT of Houston. "Additionally, oral fluid is capable of detecting very recent marijuana use as compared to urine, which is becoming increasingly important given the new laws involving medical and legalized marijuana use."
One of USAMDT's largest Houston clients is a membership organization of ship owners, operators and agents, as well as stevedoring, and terminal companies located in all Texas ports and the Port of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Association conducts drug screening for a variety of circumstances, including random, post-accident testing, reasonable suspicion and return to duty. While urine testing historically has been used by organizations of a similar size, the benefits of implementing Intercept® have been significant.
According to USAMDT, the non-invasive Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test collection process can be easily administered in any location, at any time and eliminates the need for private bathrooms, as well as same-sex test administrators. Observed collections occur with every test, creating a high level of trust in the process. Additionally, the test can be used for a wide range of scenarios, including pre-employment, post-accident, random, follow-up and return-to-duty.
The test also addresses the issue of "shy bladder" minimizing time away from work for existing employees and saving the organization and the employer time and money. More companies are implementing direct observation testing, which virtually eliminates the adulteration factor often associated with urine testing, as well as the numerous precautions needed with this method. With oral fluid, the collection process is not embarrassing for the donor, and people being tested are not sent back to a location due to urine samples being rejected by the lab, requiring a re-test of the employee. This is a cost savings to the employers in employee downtime and liability of going to a clinic for a retest.
"We have witnessed so many benefits through the implementation of Intercept®, and when choosing a testing method, the dignity of the donors was very important to us," said Trondsen. "With oral fluid, the process is straightforward and efficient, and does not require urine samples, disrobing and direct observation. Even in situations where we are testing at the hospital, you can sit in the waiting room and easily administer the test."
The simplicity and convenience of the Intercept® test has allowed USAMDT of Houston to implement testing in locations where it is needed most.
"The fact that the collection is gender neutral allows us to dispatch our technical staff without specifying male or female, which helps our work flow," said Trondsen. "We're catching more with oral fluid, and the companies we're working with are really seeing the benefits."
This year marks the 20th anniversary of National HIV Testing Day, held each June 27th to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to encourage individuals to get tested for HIV. To recognize the day, OraSure is supporting numerous testing and awareness initiatives. These testing initiatives, happening across the country, will help encourage thousands of people across the U.S. to get tested for HIV with the OraQuick® test.
In support of National HIV Testing Day, OraSure has teamed with the Greater Than AIDS campaign and The D.I.V.A. Foundation to support free rapid HIV testing with OraQuick ADVANCE® in multiple locations throughout Atlanta on June 26th and June 27th. The testing events are part of a national initiative taking place in more than 150 cities from June 25-27. Additional National HIV Testing Day events, using the OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid HIV test, will take place across the country in major cities including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore and Miami.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S., an estimated 14 percent do not know that they are infected. Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV.
In support of National Hepatitis Testing Day on Monday, May 19, 2015, OraSure Technologies supported numerous testing initiatives across the country and presided over the opening of the NASDAQ Stock Market.
The day's events were successful in raising awareness and educating the public about the hepatitis C epidemic, as well as OraSure's support of testing those at risk with the OraQuick® HCV test. Some key highlights of OraSure's National Hepatitis Testing Day initiatives included: opening of the NASDAQ Stock Market, a rapid HCV testing panel hosted by CLDF and mobile HCV testing offered by BOOM!Health in Times Square with the OraQuick® HCV test.
Additionally, the CLDF announced that it will collaborate with Walgreens to offer free HCV testing with the OraQuick® HCV test at select Walgreens retail pharmacy locations in major cities throughout the country. The initiative will launch this summer.
May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month, an initiative that aims to increase awareness about the hidden hepatitis epidemic and encourage people born from 1945-1965 to get tested for hepatitis C.
The CDC estimates that 5.2 million Americans have been exposed to or are infected with hepatitis C. Each year, about 17,000 Americans become infected with hepatitis C, but an estimated 3.2 million people in the United States are living with an active chronic hepatitis C infection. Up to 75% people with chronic hepatitis C infection were born during 1945-1965, and up to 3 out of 4 people infected with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection.
In support of Hepatitis Awareness Month, OraSure Technologies will participate in numerous events and initiatives to raise awareness and educate the public about the HCV epidemic. These include presiding over the Opening Bell ceremony at the Nasdaq Marketsite on May 19th, National Hepatitis Testing Day and supporting a panel and webcast hosted by the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) later that day. The panel will feature healthcare practitioners and leading public health officials who are implementing comprehensive hepatitis C screening initiatives in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings.
OraSure has been awarded the Pennsylvania Bio 2014 Deal of the Year Award for its national five-year Master Program Services and Co-Promotion Agreement with AbbVie. The innovative collaboration, launched in 2014, brought together the nation's only FDA approved rapid hepatitis C (HCV) test, OraSure Technologies' OraQuick® HCV test, with AbbVie's expertise and leadership in the Hepatitis C treatment, to address a major health crisis in the U.S.
The award was announced March 12 at Pennsylvania Bio's Annual Dinner and Awards Celebration at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
"I would like to thank PA Bio for the recognition and thank all those who have been involved in making this unprecedented collaboration a reality," said OraSure president and CEO, Douglas A. Michels.
"This collaboration will have a significant impact on patients who are infected with Hepatitis C – the leading cause of liver cancer and liver failure."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HCV is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States. Approximately 5.2 million people have been exposed to or infected with hepatitis C and three out of four people with HCV don't even know they are infected. Baby boomers are particularly vulnerable, with one in 30 reported to have chronic HCV. While HCV can be asymptomatic for years, there are now new treatments that can cure the infection, underscoring the greater need for identifying and testing those at risk for the disease.
Congressman Dent, Doug Michels and Commissioner Hamburg.
On October 14th, OraSure Technologies welcomed Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the 21st Commissioner of the U.S. FDA, to its headquarters.
Dr. Hamburg traveled to Bethlehem to recognize the collaborative work between OraSure and the FDA, which has brought innovative products like the OraQuick® HIV and OraQuick® HCV tests to market in order to address major public health challenges.
The visit began with a showcase of innovation from Ben Franklin Technology Partners led by its president and CEO, R. Chadwick Paul, Jr.. The visit also included a tour of the OraSure R&D laboratories, guided by OraSure Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Regulatory, Quality and Clinical Affairs, Eric Whitters, Ph.D.; Director, New Product Development, Graham Yearwood, Ph.D.; and Principal Scientist, Geraldine Guillon, Ph.D., and a tour of OraSure manufacturing, led by Nancy McLane, OraSure's Senior Vice President, Operations; Mike Foley, Manufacturing Manager; and Magaly Zeno, Quality Control Manager.
In addition to Commissioner Hamburg, U.S. Congressman Charles Dent also attended the day's activities.
On August 21st, OraSure Technologies, AbbVie, and The Healthy Trucking Association of America (HTAA), kicked off the Truckers Rolling Against Hepatitis C campaign at The Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas. The campaign was created to educate truck drivers about the hepatitis C virus, encourage testing, and link those who test positive, to care.
The nationwide campaign is a part of OraSure's innovative collaboration with AbbVie, announced on June 11th, to address hepatitis C (HCV), a major health crisis in the United States. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HCV is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the country. Approximately 5.2 million people have been exposed to or infected with hepatitis C, and 3 out 4 people with the virus don't even know they are infected.
During GATS 2014, hundreds of truck drivers and others in the industry visited the Truckers Rolling Against Hepatitis C campaign booth in the Health & Wellness Pavilion to receive healthcare education about HCV and get tested. Free testing with the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test, the first and only rapid HCV test approved by the FDA that provides lab accurate results with a fingerstick blood sample in just 20 minutes, was offered to those at risk by representatives throughout the day.
On July 26th, the University of Chicago Medicine, The University of Chicago BSD, Chicago Department of Health, Partnership with Health Asians and the Chicago section of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) came together to sponsor a free screening event held at the Chicago Chinatown Health Fair in Chinatown Square, IL. Volunteers spent the day screening patients for various conditions, including hepatitis C.
At the health fair, volunteers offered free, rapid hepatitis C testing using the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test, which delivers results in 20 minutes.OraSure Launches Redesigned TestHepC.com Site for Healthcare Professionals and Patients
OraSure has re-launched its testhepc.com website designed to increase broad awareness of the prevalence of hepatitis C (HCV) and need for increased testing. The new website is designed to help both healthcare professionals and patients understand the risk factors of HCV and provide information on the benefits of rapid testing. The website also includes case studies of organizations that have launched successful rapid HCV testing programs with OraQuick.
OraSure Observes National African American Hepatitis C Action Day
National African American Hepatitis C Action Day (July 25) and World Hepatitis Day (July 28) are annual observance days aimed to raise awareness about hepatitis, and encouraging those at risk to get tested.
In recognition of National African American Hepatitis C Action Day, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc (NBLCA), the Harm Reduction Coalition, and the Coalition for Positive Health Empowerment (C.O.P.E.) hosted a breakfast forum and community health fair in Harlem, NYC. Hadiyah Charles, Manager of Government and External Affairs for OraSure Technologies, was honored at the forum for her leadership and advocacy work on the state and national levels in the fight against hepatitis C.
At the community health fair, BOOM!Health offered free, rapid hepatitis C testing using the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test, which delivers results in 20 minutes. Hepatitis C continues to affect African Americans at a higher rate, compared to other racial and ethnic groups. African American baby boomers are also twice as likely to have hepatitis C than other baby boomers.
In addition, hepatitis C testing events took place across the country using the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test.
Daniel Raymond, Policy Director, Harm Reduction & Panelist; Gloria Searson, Founder, C.O.P.E. & Panelist; Hadiyah Charles (Honoree); C. Virginia Fields, President & CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.
National HIV Testing Day, held each June 27th, is an annual observance created to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to encourage individuals to get tested for the virus. To recognize the day, OraSure is supporting numerous testing and awareness initiatives.
On June 26, OraSure teamed with Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to offer rapid HIV testing with OraQuick ADVANCE® from the GMHC mobile testing van in Times Square. The testing event was part of a national initiative taking place in more than 100 cities across the country. In conjunction with the testing event, a press conference was held in Times Square and featured appearances and comments by Dr. Rachael Ross, physician, sex expert, and co-host of the TV show, The Doctors, and reigning Miss Universe Gabriela Isler, among others.
Also this week, OraSure teamed with television host and best-selling author, Ross Mathews, and Dr. Rachael Ross, to conduct highly targeted media tours in San Francisco and New York, to encourage testing and HIV awareness from coast to coast.
In support of National Hepatitis Testing Day on Monday, May 19, 2014, OraSure Technologies supported numerous testing initiatives across the country. The day's events were successful in raising awareness and educating the public about the hepatitis C epidemic, as well as OraSure's support of testing those at risk with the OraQuick® HCV test. Some key highlights of OraSure's National Hepatitis Testing Day initiatives included: closing of the NASDAQ Stock Market, mobile hepatitis C testing in Times Square with the OraQuick® HCV test, and a Congressional Viral Hepatitis Screening in Washington D.C.
Dr. Jay Varma, Deputy Commissioner of Health, NYC DOHMH joins Dr. Fabienne Laraque, NYC DOHMH, OraSure Technologies CEO Douglas Michels, Mike Ellis, Corporate Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy and Infusion Services, Walgreens and others at a BOOM!Health mobile HCV testing van in Times Square for National Hepatitis Testing Day, May 19th.Quality Control Testing Employs OraSure's Intercept® Drug Testing for Quick, Efficient and Accurate Student Drug Testing at Schools
Quality Control Testing shows success in school settings with OraSure's Intercept® Drug Test
Today, drug testing in schools, whether it be for sports, extracurricular activities, or suspicion, is a necessary practice. Drug abuse among young people remains at an alarming and unacceptable level and drug testing has proven to be a powerful deterrent for drug use in a variety of settings.
School districts in Texas have recently simplified the process of drug testing students by employing a third party administrator, Quality Control Testing, and utilizing the OraSure Technologies Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test. Their switch from urine testing to oral fluid testing in late 2012 has resulted in saved resources and improved student and parent experiences.
The Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test is non-invasive and can be administered in any location, anytime, eliminating the need for private bathrooms and same-sex test administrators. And because the collection is not done behind closed doors, sample tampering or adulteration is virtually impossible. This test delivers proven laboratory reliability and accuracy comparable to urine testing.
Quality Control Testing, founded in 2005 by President and CEO, Kay
McPherson, strives to contribute to the community, and the state of Texas as a whole, by aiming to decrease the use of drugs in the workplace, schools, and their environments.
In nine months (September 2012-May 2013), Quality Control Testing screened 1,200 students using this new method. These schools have been able to save $5 per test in addition to $200/day for the test collector's time. By employing OraSure's oral fluid drug test, schools can process 40 student tests per hour. With urine tests, those same 40 students would have exhausted seven hours of the collectors' time and increased students' time away from the classroom.
When choosing a testing method, student and staff comfort levels are the highest priority.
"There used to be a stigma attached to drug testing, especially when a urine sample had to be given. With the introduction of the oral fluid test, students, staff, and parents alike are much more open to testing because of its convenience and ease of use," explains McPherson.
The process is simple. Students put the collection device in their mouth, collect for five minutes and return to class. There is no fear of tampering as the test goes from the student's mouth directly into the tube to be sent to the lab for testing. Results are available within 24-48 hours. A Medical Review Officer (MRO) confirms any non-negative test results.
"We prefer OraSure's Intercept® test over other oral fluid drug tests," continued McPherson. "Intercept tests are sent to a lab, which allows for the highest level of accuracy and can even detect synthetic drugs, which a rapid test might be unable to detect. Faculty, students and parents all like the fact that the test is sealed, sent off and they actually get a true lab report with the results. That takes away a lot of questions that individuals have about drug testing in general."
Currently, the school districts that have contracted with Quality Control Testing have welcomed the introduction of the the Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test. The districts have seen an increase in compliance, cost savings, and improved perception of testing.
Palacios Independent School District, which has implemented the use of the Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test, has had great success.
"Coaches appreciate the convenience and accuracy of the Intercept® drug test. Entire teams can be screened at once and students spend less time out of the classroom," offers Scott Kurtz, Athletic Trainer at Palacios Independent School District.
McPherson also notes that students are glad to be drug tested as it gives them an excuse to say "no." She has had a number of students tell her that if they had not have had a drug testing program, they probably would have done drugs.
"It is our hope to convert those who are looking for a simpler and more accurate way to drug test students. There simply is no better option," concludes McPherson.
Magic Johnson chats with Sway Calloway on Sirius XM's Sway in the Morning Show about the importance of knowing your HIV status on February 7, 2014. (Photo by Earl Gibson III)
On February 7, 2014, Earvin "Magic" Johnson joined OraSure in New York City for a media tour to promote the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test and the importance of getting tested on National Black HIV and AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD).
HIV and AIDS continues to disproportionately impact the African American community. An estimated 1 in 16 African American men and 1 in 32 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was established to increase awareness, participation and support for HIV prevention, care and treatment among Black Americans. This year marked the 14th year of this annual event.
Magic Johnson supported the awareness day by speaking with the media and spreading the word to fans about the importance of testing for HIV with the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test. Broadcast programs that welcomed Magic and his message include 106 & Park, The HOT 97 Morning Show, SWAY in the Morning, and The Breakfast Club.
On December 1st, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities (LCHC) and OraQuick supported World AIDS Day testing events at First AME Bethel Church, First Corinthian Baptist Church, God's Offspring Christian Church and Bethany Baptist Church in New York City; and First Baptist Church and Covenant Baptist UCC in Washington, DC. Religious leaders at each location discussed the importance of testing and knowing one's HIV status during the service, highlighting the availability of the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test.
Religious leaders noted that African Americans have the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States and they took the opportunity on World AIDS Day to raise awareness within their respective communities on the importance of HIV testing.
Reverend Frank D. Tucker, First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., is interviewed by CBS about the importance of HIV testing within the African American community.
On November 19th, as a part of OraQuick's "Life. As we know it." campaign and the Reed for Hope Foundation's Love Healthy initiative, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and other special guests, including Demetria L. Lucas, Touré Roberts, Dr. Rachael Ross and LaLa Anthony, gathered at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on November 19th for a World AIDS Day media event and panel discussion.
The private event was one in a series of interactive panel discussions for the African American community. The series provides insight through real conversations to encourage healthy relationships and promote responsibility as it relates to sexual health and HIV testing in the African American community. According to the CDC, although Black Americans represent approximately 14% of the US population, they account for approximately 44% of all new HIV infections.
The "Life. As we know it." campaign takes a bold new strategic approach to reaching consumers most at risk for HIV through the creation and sharing of relevant content designed to engage consumers in a discussion about topics related to love, sex, relationships and sexual health.
Demetria L. Lucas, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Toure Roberts, and Dr. Rachael Ross discuss sexual health and HIV testing in the African American community at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Ross Mathews chats with 'The Frank DeCaro Show' on SIRIUS/XM'S OutQ about working with OraQuick and the importance of knowing your HIV status on September 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
On September 27, 2013, television host and best-selling author Ross Mathews teamed with OraSure to kick off the "Life. As we know it." campaign to the gay community in conjunction with National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The "Life. As we know it." campaign takes a bold new strategic approach to reaching consumers most at risk for HIV through the creation and sharing of content designed to engage consumers in a discussion about topics related to love, sex, relationships and sexual health. Check out the website here: http://www.whatsworthknowing.com/M4M
Mathews made numerous media appearances in Los Angeles on September 27th in support of the campaign, and completed phone interviews with highly targeted MSM outlets across the country, including The Advocate, Towleroad.com, Get Out! Magazine and EDGE. Throughout the remainder of the campaign, Mathews will be joined by influential members of the gay community to talk about the importance of testing for HIV with the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, as well as issues related to sex, love and health.
Actress/model and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza discusses the OraQuick® In-Home HIV test at a press conference hosted by Latino Commission on AIDS in recognition of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Photo by Ralf Graebner
October 15th marks the 11th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD), a national community mobilization campaign established by the Latino Commission on AIDS in response to the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS on Hispanic/Latino communities nationwide.
This year, OraSure joined with the Latino Commission on AIDS and actress/model and Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza, to promote the OraQuick® In-Home HIV test and the importance of knowing your HIV status.
Ms. Mendoza made numerous media appearances in New York in support of the awareness day, including the Luis Jiminez Radio Show, Acceso Total, CNN en Español, Yahoo en Español, People en Español, and Huffington Post Latino Voices.
HIV/AIDS continues to be a significant health threat to Hispanic/Latino communities in the United States. According to The Office of Minority Health, Hispanic Americans accounted for 20% of all HIV infection cases in 2011. Hispanic males are 3 times as likely to have either HIV infection or AIDS as compared to white males, and Hispanic females are 4 times as likely to have AIDS in 2011 as white females.
Actress/model and Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza visits the set of Acceso Total to discuss the OraQuick® In-Home HIV test and the importance of knowing your HIV status for National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Photo by Ralf Graebner
Donna M. Christensen
On September 19, 2013, OraSure participated in a panel presentation hosted by the Corporate Hepatitis Alliance, entitled "The Silent Epidemic – Understanding Hepatitis C (HCV) and the Crisis Among African American Communities." The event was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.
The presentation featured distinguished panelists and guest speakers who gathered to discuss recommendations for effective HCV-related programs, while raising awareness about the disease and highlighting the importance of screening and linkage to care. The panel was moderated by The Honorable Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and The Honorable Johnny Ford, Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama. Panelists who participated were:
Dr. Charles Howell - Professor and Director of Hepatology Research, University of Maryland
Mr. Christopher H. Bates, MPA - Senior Advisor to the Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
Dr. John Ward - Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis, The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Stephen R. Lee - Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer, OraSure Technologies, Inc.
Ms. Barbara H. McGovern, MA - Associate Medical Director, AbbVie Pharmaceuticals
Ms. Hadiyah Charles, MA - Hepatitis C Advocacy Manager, Harm Reduction Coalition
According to the CDC, the hepatitis C virus infection is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States. Up to 75 percent of people with hepatitis C are unaware of their infection. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants in the United States. When compared with other racial or ethnic groups, African Americans are more likely to have been exposed to HCV and are less likely to be screened, tested, treated and cured of HCV infection.
The OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test is the first and only FDA-approved, CLIA-waived rapid, point-of-care test for the detection of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. OraQuick® HCV results are available in 20 minutes, which can help increase the delivery of test results, allowing early diagnosis and linkage to care, treatment and prevention services, particularly for those at risk for hepatitis C.
The event was sponsored by OraSure Technologies and AbbVie Pharmaceuticals.
(Left to right)
The Honorable Donna M. Christensen (D-VI), Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Johnny Ford, Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama
Dr. Charles Howell, Professor and Director of Hepatology Research, University of Maryland
Mr. Christopher H. Bates, MPA, Senior Advisor to the Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease
Dr. John Ward, Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis, NCHHSTP, CDC
Dr. Stephen R. Lee, Executive Vice President & Chief Science Officer, OraSure Technologies, Inc.
Ms. Barbara H. McGovern, MA, Associate Medical Director, AbbVie Pharmaceuticals Policy
Ms. Hadiyah Charles, MA, Hepatitis C Advocacy Manager, Harm Reduction Coalition
This week marked the first ever African American Hepatitis C Action Day on Thursday, July 25th. OraSure Technologies joined with the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc (NBLCA), the Harm Reduction Coalition, and the Coalition for Positive Health Empowerment (COPE) to participate in a press conference on the steps of New York City's City Hall to kick-off the annual observance day. African American Hepatitis C Action Day is a national community mobilization initiative aimed at reducing the high incidence of HCV infection in black communities by drawing attention to this neglected health disparity and promoting education, testing, and treatment.
Comments were made by C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO of NBLCA, Gloria Searson, Founder and President of COPE, and Debra Fraser-Howze, Senior VP of Government and External Affairs of OraSure Technologies, among others. Dr. Matthew Weissman, Chief Medical Officer & Vice President of Medical Affairs at the Community Healthcare Network, also participated.
According to the CDC, while African Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they make up roughly 22 percent of the estimated 3.2 million persons with chronic HCV infection. Chronic liver disease, often hepatitis C-related, is a leading cause of death among African Americans ages 45-64.
In honor of the first annual African American Hepatitis C Action Day, the Community Healthcare Network provided the free, confidential testing in the Bronx using the OraQuick® Rapid HCV Antibody Test. The network deployed its mobile testing van to the corner of 182nd St. and Bronx Park South from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Bronx logged the highest number of new instances of the disease of any borough in 2012 with 1,804 — a rate of 130.2 cases per 100,000 people, according to the New York City Dept. of Health.
In addition, Hepatitis C testing events took place across the country using the OraQuick® Rapid HCV Antibody Test, including events in Albany, Atlanta, Buffalo and Rochester.
This week also marks World Hepatitis Day, on July 28th. On Friday, July 26th, representatives from OraSure Technologies and the Corporate Hepatitis Alliance joined with members of the community and political leaders to participate in a Hepatitis awareness event at the White House. Participants discussed both domestic and international policies and responses to the Hepatitis epidemic.
Dr. Matthew Weissman, Chief Medical Officer at the Community Healthcare Network, demonstrates the OraQuick® Rapid HCV Test for the media.
OraSure Technologies teamed up with The Reed For Hope Foundation (RFHF), their new ambassador – award-winning singer/songwriter/actress Keri Hilson, and medical doctor and sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross, to encourage individuals to get tested for HIV on National HIV Testing Day on June 27th using the new OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test.
National HIV Testing Day is an annual observance created to encourage Americans to get tested for the HIV virus. This year marks the first observance of National HIV Testing Day when consumers have the option of testing themselves at home by purchasing the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test – the only FDA-approved over-the-counter rapid HIV test. Consumers are now empowered to get tested with the same test that has been used by healthcare professionals since 2004.
OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test Educational Campaign Media Tour
As part of its ongoing educational and awareness efforts, OraSure collaborated with The Reed for Hope Foundation and its "Love Healthy" campaign, which encourages loved ones to be healthy and test for HIV.
RFHF, which was founded by Emmy award-winning casting director, Robi Reed, aims to raise awareness, gather resources, and build alliances with other charities and organizations in the fight to stop preventable diseases like HIV, eliminate health disparities and inspire general wellness.
Reed for Hope Foundation "Love Healthy" ambassador Keri Hilson talks to BET.com about the OraQuick® In-Home HIV test and the importance of knowing your HIV status for National HIV Testing Day.
RFHF's Love Healthy Ambassador, Keri Hilson, and Dr. Rachael Ross made media appearances in New York City on June 26th and 27th in support of the campaign. The tour is part of an integrated marketing program that includes events, as well as national and local radio, outdoor, television, print and digital advertising.
Sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross visited BET.com to discuss the first in-home rapid HIV test, OraQuick®, for National HIV Testing Day.
2013 National HIV Testing Day Consumer Perception/Attitude Survey
OraSure also released the results from its "2013 National HIV Testing Day Consumer Perception/Attitude Survey," which surveyed 1,000 sexually active adults on their perception of risk for HIV and common barriers to getting tested for HIV.
The OraQuick activation team hit the streets in front of NASDAQ for National HIV Testing Day. Videos promoting OraQuick were also broadcast on the NASDAQ Tower and Marquis throughout the day.
This month, OraSure Technologies brought the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test "Make Knowing Your Thing Today" campaign to Washington, D.C. with a multi-faceted advertising campaign and an exciting schedule of activation events.
On June 9th, OraQuick sponsored Capital Pride with a booth at the Capital Pride Festival. Pride attendees were encouraged to visit the "Make Knowing Your Thing Today" booth and participate in the Knowing Is Sexy trivia game for prizes. The Festival is DC's largest annual one-day event with over 150,000 visitors.
OraQuick continued its Washington, D.C. activation campaign with events at MOVA, Bachelor's Mill, livDC, and Lotus.
"Make Knowing Your Thing Today" is a nationwide campaign that asks people across the country to share their story about their decision to test for HIV. The awareness campaign is part of an integrated national marketing program that includes events, as well as national and local radio, outdoor advertising, television, print and digital advertising.
Dr. John Ward, CDC, gets tested for hepatitis C with OraQuick® HCV.
On May 23, 2013, OraSure participated in the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) Capitol Hill press conference and hepatitis testing event, held in the Rayburn House Office Building.
Congressman Charlie Dent gets tested for hepatitis C with OraQuick® HCV.
The event, held in conjunction with National Hepatitis Awareness Month, kicked off with a press conference, that included statements from Congressman Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-LA), Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA), Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) and Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), as well as Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy and Dr. John Ward, Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis at NCHHSTP, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rapid hepatitis C testing was offered using the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test. Congressmen Cassidy, Dent, Honda, Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI), Dr. Ward and many others were tested with the OraQuick® HCV test during the event.
The event was sponsored by the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, Caring Ambassadors Program, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Association of Chinese American Physicians, Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington DC, the Corporate Hepatitis Alliance, and the Community Education Group, who conducted the testing on site.
OraSure Technologies is supporting numerous rapid Hepatitis C (HCV) testing initiatives for the second annual National Hepatitis Testing Day, taking place on May 19, 2013. These events, occurring in more than 30 cities across the country, will help encourage thousands of at-risk individuals across the U.S. to get tested for HCV with the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test.
Among these initiatives is a program coordinated by OraSure Technologies, Walgreens, the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation, and local health organizations that offers Hepatitis C testing with the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test to individuals at risk of HCV infection. Testing will be available at select Walgreens retail pharmacy locations throughout the country with on-site testing, patient education, and linkage to care conducted by local organizations.
OraSure is also working with the First Ladies Health Day team to coordinate health screenings at more than 20 churches in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Sponsored and staffed by Walgreens, the screening locations will use the OraQuick® HCV Rapid Test, in addition to other screenings for diseases/conditions that disproportionally affect the African American community.
Additional testing initiatives are taking place in Pittsburgh, New York City, and Washington DC.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses National Hepatitis Testing Day as an opportunity to remind health care providers and the public about who should be tested for chronic viral hepatitis. Millions of Americans have chronic viral hepatitis, but most of them do not know they are infected. To learn more, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/testingday/.
A volunteer gests tested with an OraQuick® HCV rapid test at a press conference held May 14th on New York City Hall steps in recognition of National Hepatitis Awareness Month. Elected officials, community leaders and public health officials gathered to announce free and low cost hepatitis testing throughout the city this month.
This month, OraSure Technologies brought the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test "Make Knowing Your Thing Today" campaign to Miami with a multi-faceted advertising campaign and a month-long schedule of activation events.
On April 14th, OraQuick sponsored Miami Beach Gay Pride with a booth at the Pride Festival. Pride attendees were encouraged to visit the "Make Knowing Your Thing Today" outdoor booth and participate in the Knowing Is Sexy trivia game for prizes.
OraQuick continued its Miami activation campaign with appearances at MOVA, Miami Palace, Café Iguana, and Miami Twist throughout April. Miami Radio stations Y100 Miami and 99 Jamz also broadcast live from some of the events.
"Make Knowing Your Thing Today" is a nationwide campaign that asks people across the country to share their story about their decision to test for HIV. The awareness campaign is part of an integrated national marketing program that includes events, as well as national and local radio, outdoor advertising, television, print and digital advertising.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson joined OraSure today in Los Angeles, CA to kick off the "Make Knowing Your Thing Today" campaign, encouraging people to learn their HIV status. The nationwide campaign asks people across the country to share their story about their decision to test for HIV. The awareness campaign is part of an integrated national marketing program that includes events, as well as national and local radio, outdoor advertising, television, print and digital advertising.
Magic Johnson is supporting the campaign by appearing on CBS This Morning, MSNBC Now, The Talk, and Conan, among other programs, to encourage others to get tested for HIV.
"Knowing your HIV status is important. But that doesn't mean that the decision to get tested is easy. Everyone follows a different path to testing and everyone has different reasons for doing so." said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "An open and honest dialogue about HIV/AIDS can remove the stigma around testing, so more people get tested. The more voices that join the conversation, the more powerful the message: Testing for HIV/AIDS can save lives. It's everyone's thing."
The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, the first and only rapid in-home oral fluid HIV test, launched in October 2012 and is available in 30,000 retail outlets nationwide and online at OraQuick.com.
OraSure Technologies has been selected as one of the Top Workplaces in the Lehigh Valley for 2013. The Morning Call published the complete list of Top Workplaces on Sunday, March 3rd.
Participating companies were evaluated on a variety of workplace variables, including employee benefits, local community involvement, and company events.
The Top Workplaces are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement.
Click here to read the full Morning Call article.
Click here to learn more about working at OraSure Technologies.
From left to right – Monica Chibber, Tanya DeSentis, Ashish Purani, Ruby Osorio, Ron Ticho, Doug Michels and Henry Cohen.
The Methodist Hospital System, recognized as the best hospital in the state of Texas, is located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. The system includes five hospitals and 15,000+ employees.
Methodist Wellness Services (MWS) is a division of The Methodist Hospital System that offers wellness programs to employees and their spouses, individuals, patients and other corporate employers in the community. These programs include tobacco cessation, nutrition, weight management, health condition management, fitness, stress management, Healthy Lifestyle coaching and more.
In September 2011, as part of a health risk appraisal and biometric screening process, MWS adopted the OraSure® Oral Fluid Collection Device for cotinine screenings that test for tobacco use. OraSure's device enables fast and easy collection of an oral fluid sample, enabling non-medical professionals to collect samples for laboratory processing.
Due to the simple mouth swab test, MWS was able to conduct 13,000 tests in 2011 within a 12-week timeframe. Upon the completion of the annual population screening effort, MWS continued providing the biometric screening process and health risk assessment for all new employees and their spouses by individual appointment. Beginning in August 2012, the annual population health assessment process including biometric screenings and completion of a health risk assessment began again. This annual process overlaps with employee open enrollment in October. A total of 14,338 cotinine tests were completed in 2012.
When asked about employees' response to the tobacco test, Michele Hunnicutt, Director of Methodist Wellness Services, stated "Employees have been positive about the testing, especially with all the research showing the negative and harmful effects of tobacco use." She also stated that "Methodist employees are proud to be leading by example and practicing what we preach."
Under the MWS system, employees and spouses who complete a health risk assessment, biometric screening and test negative for cotinine/tobacco use save $500 off an individual health plan and $1,000 for a family health plan.
"Before using OraSure's device, we did not conduct cotinine testing – so we had no definitive knowledge regarding the accuracy of our tobacco utilization statistics from our health risk assessment," said Hunnicutt. "OraSure's device is similar to the detection levels of a blood or urine test, making it an accurate and convenient screening test conducted as part of a biometric screening process."
MWS has seen significant improvements since implementing cotinine testing. Eighty-seven employees quit using tobacco in 2011 after agreeing to "commit to quit" on the health risk assessment and having a "positive" cotinine test.
"We are creating a culture that shows we care about our employees' health and well-being," said Hunnicutt. "It's also good for the community to know that we are leading by example by having a much lower percentage of tobacco users."
In support of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), OraSure has joined together with, Interactive One and Radio One, and RCA Records to be the exclusive sponsor of the Hello Beautiful Presents Grammy Award Winning artist Alicia Keys Intimate Concert Event in February.
The concert, which was taped in Harlem, NY at the legendary Red Rooster lounge, will debut on HelloBeautiful.com in February. The event is part of a month-long series that will air on HelloBeautiful.com throughout the month of February.
OraSure is committed to helping people learn their HIV status. Its OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test launched in October 2012 and is available in 30,000 retail outlets nationwide and online at OraQuick.com. The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2012, detects antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab, providing a confidential in-home testing option with results in as little as 20 minutes.
This December, OraSure Technologies employees continued their tradition of giving back to the community during the holiday season.
Caption: David Fronheiser and Ruby Dunlop from the AIDS Activities Office at LV Health Network with the Holiday Hope Chests donated by OraSure Technologies.
For the fifth year, OraSure Technologies participated in the 2012 Holiday Hope Chests initiative, a national project adopted by the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley in conjunction with other partners to help less fortunate children living in the Lehigh Valley.
This year, OraSure donated more than 150 boxes for local Lehigh Valley children. One hundred boxes were donated to the AIDS Activities Office at Lehigh Valley Health Network, for children who are either infected with HIV or are the child of a parent with HIV. More than 50 boxes were donated to the New Bethany Ministries in Bethlehem.
The chests were made possible by the personal donations of OraSure's employees who generously gave their personal time and effort to the project which included purchasing toys, securing empty shoe boxes and gift wrapping each individual package.
Additionally, as a direct response to the tremendous amount of community need that resulted from Hurricane Sandy, this year OraSure employees chose to donate to local charitable organizations in lieu of holding their annual employee holiday luncheon. As a result, significant donations were made to the local chapter of the American Red Cross and to the Second Harvest Food Bank, both of which have been working hard to support those affected by the storm. OraSure invited representatives from these two organizations to speak at its December employee meeting.
OraSure Technologies launched its OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test television advertising campaign on December 1st, to coincide with World AIDS Day. The campaign is airing on major cable networks a sampling of which includes MTV, A&E, BET, E!, Bravo and Logo and also on the nation's number one rated reality show NBC's The Voice on December 17th.OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test Now Available in Stores Nationwide
OraSure Technologies today announced the availability of the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test at retailers nationwide and online, making it the first rapid infectious disease test ever to be made available directly to consumers for in-home use.
To see Douglas Michels speak about the rapid HIV test on CNBC's Mad Money, click here.
To read the press release, click here.
Located in Chicago, Illinois, Haymarket Center is a non-profit comprehensive substance abuse treatment organization that provides a wide range of services to as many as 20,000 clients annually, from across the state of Illinois. These services include detoxification services, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, mental health screeings and health services.
Haymarket Center has one of the largest health education departments in the Midwestern United States, through which it provides health education services for HIV, hepatitis C and other acute and chronic health issues often associated with substance abuse. One of the services offered through the health education department at Haymarket Center is rapid testing for hepatitis C with OraQuick® HCV.
Haymarket Center established its rapid hepatitis C testing program in response to a large need they saw in the Chicago area for hepatitis C testing and services.
"Unlike HIV, there are not many resources available for hepatitis C at the community level," said Jill Wolf, LCSW, Assistant Clinical Director, Haymarket Center. "But with substance abuse, we see many more people in need of hepatitis C services. In our HIV+ population, roughly 33% are HIV/HCV coinfected. Further, our approximate positivity rate in our HCV testing with substance abusers is 8%! That is why we felt it critical to make rapid hepatitis C testing a part of our health education offerings."
Haymarket launched its rapid hepatitis C testing program in September 2011, offering rapid hepatitis C testing alongside rapid HIV testing, both on the OraQuick® rapid test platform, to all Haymarket Center clients. The Center also offers rapid testing through a mobile van that visits various high-risk communities throughout the Chicago area.
"Rapid testing is a particularly powerful intervention for substance users because for a homeless or transient population who often doesn't want to wait long enough for results, the immediacy of the intervention often satisfies the need for immediate gratification in substance abusers," said Wolf. "Also, because this population is very transient, the ability to provide results at the point of care - and take the appropriate next steps - enables us to identify more people with hepatitis C and link them to confirmatory testing and care."
The Center also offers confirmatory testing through an RN, so that those who test positive can immediately be linked to appropriate resources.
Since the program began, the Center has tested more than 1,300 clients - making it one of the largest rapid hepatitis C testing programs in the country. Of these, more than 60 have been provided with confirmatory testing at Haymarket Center's James West clinic and linked to care.
The Center works with the Chicago Hepatitis Coalition, the City of Chicago and the Erie Family Health Center and other community based organizations to provide linkage to treatment and additional resources, such as treatment, for those who test positive.
Moving forward, Haymarket Center hopes to expand its hepatitis C program to provide additional testing and services for those in need.
Saturday, July 28th is World Hepatitis Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the different forms of hepatitis: what they are and how they are transmitted; who is at risk; and the various methods of prevention and treatment.
In recognition of this day, OraSure is supporting several events and testing initiatives, to help increase awareness of hepatitis C and encourage testing for those at risk. These initiatives are taking place this week in various cities in the U.S., including Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., and in several other countries.
Friday, July 27, OraSure Technologies is hosting a panel of experts who have successfully integrated routine rapid hepatitis C testing in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings and will share their best practices. OraSure is also presiding over the NASDAQ market closing bell today.
OraSure has also launched Hep C: Test It. Find It. Fight It. at www.testhepc.com, a website designed to increase broad awareness of the prevalence of HCV and need for increased testing. The website includes resources and materials to help organizations plan, execute and promote their OraQuick® HCV testing events throughout the year.
OraSure Technologies joined NAPWA, the NAMES Project Foundation, Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Vincent Gray, and other leaders in the HIV/AIDS community at the National AIDS Quilt ceremony on Sunday, July 22 to commemorate those who have lost their lives to AIDS and salute those who live with the disease. The ceremony was a kick off event to the International AIDS 2012 conference, taking place July 22 - 27th in Washington, D.C.
The National AIDS Quilt, which is on display in Washington, D.C. throughout the week of the conference, is considered the most sacred symbol for people living with HIV/AIDS, and is a tribute to the 680,000 people who lost their lives to AIDS in America. OraSure's President and Chief Executive Officer Douglas A. Michels offered remarks at the event held on the National Mall in front of the Capitol Building, alongside Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington, D.C., Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), Julie Rhoad, President and CEO of NAMES Project Foundation, Sharon Pratt Kelly, former Washington, D.C. Mayor and Frank Oldham, Jr., President and CEO of NAPWA.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Company's OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test on July 3, 2012 for sale directly to consumers in the over-the-counter (OTC) market – making it the first and only rapid OTC HIV test approved in the U.S. The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test can detect antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab, providing a confidential in-home testing option with results in as little as 20 minutes. It is the first rapid diagnostic test for any infectious disease that has been approved by the FDA for sale over the counter.
"Approval of the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test represents a major breakthrough in HIV testing," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "For the first time ever, individuals will have access to an in-home oral test that will empower them to learn their HIV status in the comfort of their home and obtain referral to care if needed. This new in-home rapid test – the same test doctors have used for years – will help individuals at risk for HIV who otherwise may not test in a professional or clinical setting." To see Douglas Michels speak about the rapid HIV test on CNBC click here
"We set out with a clear purpose – to dramatically impact the number of people getting tested for HIV nationwide," added Michels. "Today's FDA approval of OraQuick brings us much closer to accomplishing that goal." To see Michels interview on Fox Business After the Bell click here
The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test is an over-the-counter version of the Company's OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV 1/2 Antibody Test, the market leading rapid HIV test with millions of units sold to hospitals, clinics, community-based organizations and physician offices.
The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test is expected to be available for purchase this October at more than 30,000 retail outlets throughout the country and online.
Read the press release here.
June 27th was the 18th annual National HIV Testing Day, a nationwide effort to promote the benefits of HIV testing and prevention to millions of Americans at risk for HIV.
In recognition of the day, OraSure Technologies joined with numerous partners to open the NASDAQ market, with the support of Frank J. Oldham Jr., President and CEO, the National Association of People with AIDS; and LaRay Brown, Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning and Community Health, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation among others.
OraSure Technologies opened the NASDAQ market on June 27, 2012 for National HIV Testing Day.
OraSure also worked with the Community Healthcare Network (CHN) and Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) to offer free, rapid HIV testing with OraQuick ADVANCE® from its mobile HIV testing vans in Times Square, NYC throughout the day on June 27th.
OraSure President and CEO Douglas A. Michels and OraSure partners demonstrate the OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid oral fluid HIV test.
Wednesday, June 27th marks the 18th annual National HIV Testing Day, a nationwide effort to promote the benefits of HIV testing and prevention to millions of Americans at risk for HIV.
OraSure is sponsoring numerous testing events and initiatives in support of NHTD to draw attention to the critical role that HIV testing in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
These initiatives include partnerships with NAPWA, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens to promote rapid HIV testing in cities across the U.S. OraSure will also participate in National HIV Awareness Month, a new initiative to promote HIV awareness and prevention throughout the month of July.
OraSure Technologies will also open the NASDAQ Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 27th, with the help and support of Frank J. Oldham Jr., President and CEO, the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA); and LaRay Brown, Senior Vice President of Corporate Planning and Community Health, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) among others.
OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSUR) today issued a statement in strong support of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) draft guidelines proposing that all U.S. baby boomers get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus (HCV).OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test Receives Unanimous Positive Recommendation from FDA Advisory Committee
OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Blood Products Advisory Committee (BPAC) provided a unanimous positive recommendation for the Company's OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test
Click here to view the Fox Business clip on the BPAC meeting outcome:
OraSure Technologies will support numerous rapid hepatitis C testing initiatives for the first annual National Hepatitis Testing Day, scheduled for May 19, 2012. Testing initiatives are taking place in more than 20 cities across the country to encourage thousands of people across the U.S. to get tested for hepatitis C with the OraQuick® Rapid HCV test.
Among these programs is the city-wide Check Hep C NYC program by The Fund for Public Health in New York, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health &amo; Mental Hygiene Office.
OraSure is also working in partnership with Walgreens and local community-based organizations to provide free screenings for hepatitis C in and around select Walgreens locations in Chicago, Houston, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
Additional OraQuick® HCV testing initiatives are taking place this week in Chicago, Columbus, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. and various other cities.
Each year, OraSure Technologies holds its International Sales Meeting, where sales executives from across the country and around the world gather to discuss the latest product developments and align their goals for the year. This year, the sales meeting was held in Hershey, Pa., not far from the OraSure Technologies headquarters in Bethlehem, PA.
As is the tradition each year, the meeting closes with a team-building activity, which aims to connect the participants with the larger OraSure family. For the past several years, the sales executives have requested that the team building activity be something that "gives back" to the community.
In this spirit, OraSure teamed up with Best Team Building, and through an afternoon of teamwork and collaboration, 60 OraSure employees were able to build and donate 18 brand new bicycles to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Pennsylvania. The nine girls and nine boys who received the bikes were chosen because of their participation in an after-school program and the extra studying they were doing to get good grades at school.
"We cannot thank OraSure enough for their efforts in providing an unforgettable life experience," said Yvonne Hollins, the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Central PA. "Our members were pleasantly surprised and felt important and good about themselves. They realized that continuous good behavior and hard work is rewarded, The facial expressions of joy and happiness cannot be duplicated or measured."
"Working with Best Team Building on this build-a-bike activity was not only enjoyable and gave our sales executives an opportunity to bond with one another, but it also allowed OraSure to give something back to our community," said Tony Zezzo, OraSure's Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales. "We are proud to be able to contribute something meaningful to the 18 children who are working hard and getting good grades at school."
The Chronic Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF), a leading educational organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the effect of chronic liver disease in the United States, issued a position paper in support of expanding screening for hepatitis C in the United States.
The position paper, "Endorsement of Birth-Cohort Approach to Expand Screening for Hepatitis C," outlines the CLDF's recommendations for a more effective strategy to identify patients with HCV infection and link such patients to expert care and treatment.OraSure Supports National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
February 7th, 2012 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Now in its 12th year, NBHAAD was established in 1999 by five national organizations and the CDC as a national initiative designed to encourage Blacks across the United States to get tested and treated for HIV/AIDS.
OraSure Technologies is committed to helping people get tested and know their HIV status. This February 7th, join OraSure and others in your community to support National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day testing and prevention initiatives in your area.
HIV/AIDS continues to devastate Black communities. Approximately 1 in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime, as will 1 in 30 black women. Annually, nearly 20,000 Blacks in the United States test positive for HIV. Even more alarming than these numbers is the fact that there remains an indefinite number of people who do not know their HIV status and may be potentially spreading the virus unknowingly. It is imperative for people to get tested and learn their HIV status. With this knowledge HIV positive persons can be empowered to both change their behavior to protect others and be connected to the treatment and the counseling they need to live long, healthy lives.
This year’s theme, I Am My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS! was chosen to inspire all in the community – young and old, gay and straight, religious and non-religious – to encourage their friends, families and other loved ones to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated for HIV/AIDS.
For more information about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, as well as HIV testing events in your area, please visit http://www.nationalblackaidsday.org/, or visit OraSure’s HIV testing website: www.KnowYourStatusToday.com.
In 2003, SECCO, a Pennsylvania-based electrical contracting company, relied on traditional, urine-based drug testing to screen their employees. Due to the need for a quicker testing process and more convenience of where tests can be administered, SECCO made the switch to OraSure’s Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test and are highly satisfied.
In 2003, SECCO was using urine-based drug testing but was running into obstacles. The Company wanted a more flexible and efficient option to administer drug testing on a regular basis. They needed a method that would be easy to administer at multiple off-site locations, and take less time out of a working day.
Since switching to Intercept oral fluid drug testing in 2004, SECCO is now able to quickly and efficiently collect oral samples.
“Intercept oral fluid drug testing provides us the ability to quickly, efficiently and accurately obtain drug testing samples in a field based work environment,” said Shannon Costill, Human Resources & Special Projects Coordinator at SECCO. “One of the main reasons we starting using Intercept was due to the flexibility and time-savings that it provides us with.”
Because it is a contracting company, only about one-third of SECCO’s team member’s work in the office – the rest are in the field on job sites. SECCO needed a testing option that would allow it the ability to obtain testing samples in the field.
“With Intercept, we are able to efficiently obtain the testing samples where we work, whether it on a jobsite or in the office, without having to drive another facility and wait in line to collect a urine sample,” explained Costill.
By collecting samples at the job sites where the work is being performed, SECCO saves hours of time (that would be needed to travel back and forth to a urine collection site), and saves itself the associated costs, as well. After the samples are collected, they are quickly transported to a laboratory for testing which provides the confidence and accuracy of a laboratory-based screen and confirmation service.
“The flexibility of Intercept testing is a significant benefit for SECCO,” says Costill. “Being able to conveniently obtain samples on the job site, and being able to do it quickly, are the main priorities for us.”
Finally, Costill said that SECCO’s contractors appreciate the oral swab approach: “Taking a mouth swab is a more dignified way to conduct drug testing, compared with taking a urine sample. Our team members appreciate the convenience and ease of this method.”
Today, SECCO continues to be very satisfied with the decision to switch to Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Testing.
“In terms of employee drug testing, convenience and flexibility are very important to us, and Intercept is able to provide us with these benefits in a way that other drug testing methods are not,” said Costill. “We would recommend Intercept to any company that wants to save time, offer increased convenience and flexibility, and still achieve highly accurate results.”
OraSure Technologies, along with Major League Baseball, Merck, the American Liver Foundation, and Coalition of Positive Health Empowerment recently joined forces to implement the Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C campaign – an initiative that spanned three major U.S. cities to promote hepatitis C awareness, testing, education and prevention efforts.
The campaign aimed to increase awareness around hepatitis C testing and bring attention to the causes and treatment of the disease. As part of the campaign, several Major League Baseball ballparks throughout the country offered free OraQuick® rapid hepatitis C testing this past summer. The free testing took place in Houston, Chicago and St. Louis this past summer, at the home baseball stadiums of the Astros, Cubs and Cardinals.
In each city the events were a collaborative effort between the local departments of health, the regional chapter of the ALF and volunteers from local community based organizations. Both a baseball celebrity and a local doctor also supported the events in each city. The first event took place at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Fans had the opportunity to meet Cubs sports commentator Keith Moreland at the testing. He also took an OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody Test to show Cubs fans how easy it is to get tested. In Houston, Astros manager Brad Mills participated in the campaign, and in St. Louis it was all-star Lance Berkman.
"Hep C is a serious disease," said St. Louis Cardinals player Lance Berkman in a media interview. "Together with the Cardinals, I am spreading the word for people to understand they may have this disease and not know it. About 3.2 million Americans are infected and many are unaware. I am urging people to get tested now because there is treatment available. Go to allabouthepc.com/baseball for more information about the disease."
"One of my family members was infected with Hep C, so I saw first-hand how crucial it is for people to be made aware of this fatal disease," said Chicago Cubs analyst, Keith Moreland. "That's why I've joined the Cubs, Merck, the American Liver Foundation, OraSure and Coalition of Positive Health Empowerment, as part of Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C program, which aims to encourage people in Chicago to get educated on the facts and tested for hepatitis C. You can find out if you have chronic hepatitis C from a simple blood test. Come down to the ballpark and get tested. You can find more information at allabouthepc.com/baseball."
"I was stunned to hear that Hep C can lay dormant in a person for years. In some cases, by the time the person is to find out they have it, it is too late. I am stepping up to the plate against Hep C because it is a cause I believe in," said Brad Mills, Manager of the Houston Astros. "People need to know, if they get tested, there is treatment available. At Minute Maid on select dates, we are having screenings. Testing is simple and confidential. Together with the Astros, I want to make people aware of the seriousness of this disease."
The testing events in each city were a success. Fans also had the unique opportunity to meet players or managers fat all three stadiums.
Houston Astros' manager Brad Mills gets tested for hepatitis C as part of the Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C initiative.
St. Louis Cardinals' outfielder Lance Berkman meets fans at the Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C initiative.
Keith Moreland, former Philadelphia Philly and Chicago Cubs ballplayer, now color commentator for the Cubs, signs an autograph outside Wrigley Field
The "Step Up to The Plate Against Hepatitis C" banners in Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
October 15 marks the annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness and draw attention to the critical role that HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of HIV and AIDS.
This year, October 12 was the official launch date in New York City. The day began with a press conference at City Hall, where speakers such as Dr. Monica Sweeney (Assistant Commissioner – NYC Department of Health), Guillermo Chacon (President of the Latino Commission on AIDS), Robert Jackson (Council Member), and Melissa Mark-Viverito (Council Member) all spoke about the importance of getting testing and knowing one's status. After the press conference, a unique campaign, called "Take The Train? Take The Test!", led by the Latino Commission on AIDS and over 30 community partners including OraSure, offered free OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid oral fluid HIV testing at 25 different subway stations across all 5 boroughs of New York City.
Right now, Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic as they comprise over 24.3% percent of HIV/AIDS cases nationwide (CDC). In New York City, there are 94,000 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS -- of that total number, 28% are Hispanic/Latino -- and New York is the state with the highest number of Latinos living with HIV/AIDS.
The video below includes highlights from the kickoff day events, including the press conference and a site on the "Take the Train? Take the Test!" campaign.
The Acquisition Will Provide Entry Into the Rapidly Growing Molecular Diagnostics Market and Strengthen the Company's Leadership in Oral Fluid Diagnostics
On July 25, OraSure announced that it will acquire privately-held DNA Genotek Inc, a leading provider of oral fluid sample collection, stabilization and preparation products for molecular diagnostic applications. The acquisition will provide entry into the rapidly growing molecular diagnostics market. It will also strengthen the Company's leadership in oral fluid diagnostics, by providing OraSure with a complementary portfolio of products that enable easy and reliable collection, stabilization, transportation and storage of high quality nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) samples. These samples can then be used for a wide range of diagnostic and research applications.
Both companies share a common capability and passion to develop best-in-class oral fluid-based solutions. DNA Genotek is a recognized leader in the nucleic acid collection market, and OraSure is excited to be acquiring it and to be entering into to the molecular diagnostics market.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire DNA Genotek which is a recognized leader in the nucleic acid collection market and fits soundly with OraSure's strategic goals and objectives. We targeted entry into the US $4 billion molecular diagnostics market given the magnitude and rapid growth profile of the segment," said Douglas A. Michels, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies.
"Our companies both endeavor to provide high-quality, non-invasive sample collection devices and the combination of our resources will significantly enhance our ability to deliver industry leading solutions to our customers. The two organizations are complementary from a technology and people perspective," said Ian Curry, President and CEO of DNA Genotek Inc.
During a team meeting on Monday, Douglas Michels shared the announcement with the OraSure employees.
OraSure employees convene in the lobby of its southside headquarters in Bethlehem, Pa. as OraSure President and CEO Doug Michels shares the announcement with Company employees that OraSure will be entering the molecular diagnostics space through the acquisition of DNA Genotek.
Doug Michels, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies shares the announcement with Company employees that OraSure will be entering the molecular diagnostics space through the acquisition of DNA Genotek.
Monday, June 27th marked the 17th annual National HIV Testing Day, a nationwide effort to promote the benefits of HIV testing and prevention to millions of Americans at risk for HIV.
HIV testing is critical because in the U.S., more than 1.1 million people have HIV – however over 200,000 of those are unaware that they are infected.
This year, the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), the CDC, OraSure Technologies, mayors and government officials from around the U.S., Walgreens Pharmacies, and others, came together to hold and promote various events in New York City and across the country for National HIV Testing Day, including:
Opened the NASDAQ MarketSite
OraSure Technolgoies opened the NASDAQ Stock Exchange on Monday, June 27th, with the help and support of Frank Oldham, President and CEO of NAPWA, Johnny Ford, founder of the World Conference of Mayors and former mayor of Tuskegee, AL, and Mayor Robert L. Bowser of East Orange, NJ, president of the National Black Conference of Mayors – among many others.
rom left to right; Ron Spair; Catherine Abate; Frank J. Oldham, Jr.; Marjorie Hill, PhD; Douglas Michels; Mayor Ronald K. Davis; Mayor Robert L. Bowser; Mayor Johnny Ford
Expert Panel on Rapid HIV Testing at NASDAQ
Following the opening of the NASDAQ stock exchange, OraSure hosted a panel of experts who have successfully integrated routine rapid HIV testing in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings, who discussed and shared their best practices. The expert panel included: Dr. Yvette Calderon (Jacobi Medical Center – Bronx, NY), Dr. Susan Enaharo (Morris Heights Health Center – Bronx, NY), Will Lyons (Georgia Department of Health), Nancy Miles (Wishard Hospital – Indianapolis, IN) and Dr. Luis Freddy Molano (Community Healthcare Network – New York, NY).
Free Rapid HIV Testing in Times Square
The Community Healthcare Network (CHN) offered free, rapid HIV testing with OraQuick ADVANCE® from its mobile HIV testing van in Times Square, on Monday. OraSure's President and CEO Douglas Michels, along with Johnny Ford, founder of the World Conference of Mayors and former mayor of Tuskegee, AL, Mayor Robert L. Bowser of East Orange, NJ, and Mayor Ronald K. Davis of Prichard, Alabama.
From left to right: Mayor Ronald K. Davis; Mayor Johnny Ford; Mayor Robert L. Bowser; Douglas Michels
Walgreens Providing Free HIV Testing
OraSure also partnered with Greater Than AIDS, the CDC, local departments of health and community-based organizations across the U.S. to provide free screenings for HIV at select Walgreens retail pharmacies in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans, Oakland and San Francisco. (Full release: http://media-newswire.com/release_1153445.html.)
Project SHALEM is a partnership between the JACQUES Initiative, a program of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland, the Maryland Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration and multiple community and faith-based institutions around the city of Baltimore.
Meaning "peace" or "safe place" in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the program was kicked off on July 21, 2009 as part of City Uprising, a four-day event sponsored by the Gallery Church Baltimore. During this initial event nearly two years ago, volunteers from nine states and local 11 community organizations worked together with a goal of testing 1,000 Baltimore citizens for HIV.
Current Testing Initiatives
Project SHALEM works to mobilize the community in an effort to prevent and test for HIV, and provide linkage to care when necessary. The project also provides wrap-around services such as housing, substance abuse rehabilitation, HIV education, case management and interaction with people living will with HIV.
As of last year, up to December 2010, Project SHALEM provided HIV testing to over 3,200 people in Baltimore, with a linkage to care rate of 67%.
Testing Goals for 2011
This year, the organization has set a goal to increase and expand their current HIV testing initiatives throughout the city.
This year, for National HIV Testing Day, Project SHALEM is taking part in an annual collaborative effort called City Uprising HIV Outreach Day in Baltimore. The event takes place on June 28th, the day after National HIV Testing Day. 2011 marks the third year that Project SHALEM will be participating in this citywide activity to help as many people as possible learn their HIV status. There will be seven testing sites throughout the city, over 10 agencies involved and hundreds of volunteers participating.
By working with OraSure Technologies, and providing Baltimore citizens with rapid HIV testing results, Project SHALEM and OraSure are committed to helping more individuals know their status and be connected to the care and treatment needed to live longer, healthier lives.
For more information please contact Project SHALEM at firstname.lastname@example.org
To help supports its customers and partners across the U.S., OraSure Technologies has recently launched a new website, www.KnowYourStatusToday.com, which serves as a tool and resource for HIV testing program organizers to plan, promote, and execute successful rapid HIV testing events. Since 1987, OraSure has worked with hundreds of local, state, national and international agencies and organizations to help millions of people learn their HIV status with our rapid tests. This website takes some of the best practices from successful testing programs and provides resources that other testing programs can successfully replicate.
The website includes downloadable event marketing materials, such as posters, banners, and palm cards and public relations materials such as template press releases, media alerts and PSAs. There are also informative materials about HIV and reasons to test that can be distributed at events.
The site also features a section on rapid HIV testing programs across the country – and highlights how these programs are successfully conducting HIV testing initiatives using the OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid HIV test. Currently, these Featured Programs include the Philadelphia FIGHT project, Project SHALEM and The Chase Brexton Clinic in Baltimore and The Community Healthcare Network in New York. Additional programs will be featured in the coming months.
OraSure Technologies is very excited to offer its customers this resource to help plan and conduct successful rapid HIV testing events as a part of their overall HIV prevention and testing efforts.
On Thursday, May 12, 2011, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the launch of its Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, which addresses its plan to prevent and treat viral hepatitis, a silent epidemic affecting 3.5 to 5.3 million Americans, most of whom do not know they are infected. The public announcement was made at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., following a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill.
Hosted by Congressman Mike Honda, the congressional briefing featured Congressman Charlie Dent and several others, and was held to inform Members of Congress and their staff about the long–awaited report from HHS detailing the federal government's strategy for combating hepatitis B and C in the United States – as well as show and pledge support.
Following this pledge of support, the plan was then publicly released by Assistant Secretary of Health Howard Koh, Dr. Kevin Fenton of the CDC and other government officials.
The plan, "Combating the Silent Epidemic: US Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis", is a response to the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, which highlighted the barriers that have impeded efforts for hepatitis prevention and control. The plan outlines a comprehensive action plan to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, as well as create opportunities to train health professionals to diagnose, treat, vaccinate, and ultimately save lives.
"These infections have fueled a tragic cascade of human suffering," said Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, in a press release issued by HHS. "The new HHS action plan on viral hepatitis represents an unprecedented call to action for better education, treatment and prevention."
The action plan draws attention to the existing need to test and diagnose the 3.5 to 5.3 million Americans who are currently living with viral hepatitis. According to the report, the integration of rapid point-of-care testing will be an important part in the plan. The report also highlights how "rapid point-of-care tests are also advantageous because they can be used simultaneously with HIV rapid testing for persons at risk for both HCV and HIV infections".
"The Viral Hepatitis Action Plan is a significant and important step in responding effectively to this silent epidemic," says Douglas Michels, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies. "The first step in combating this disease, as outlined in the Action Plan, is to identify the millions of Americans at risk for hepatitis and link them to available treatment and care. By providing the only rapid, point-of-care hepatitis C test available in the United States, we hope to significantly contribute to this plan to fight the disease."
OraSure's OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test is the first and only FDA-approved rapid test for the detection of antibodies to the hepatitis C virus and is currently classified as a moderately complex test which can be used by approximately 40,000 laboratories certified as meeting certain quality and training requirements under CLIA. OraSure has recently submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") an application for a waiver under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 ("CLIA"), for use with venous whole blood and fingerstick whole blood specimens.
Just a few short years ago, administering pre-employment drug screens to the hundreds of job applicants hired each year at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was extremely challenging. However, after adopting OraSure's Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test, the challenges have virtually disappeared.
Penn State Hershey searched for an alternative to lab-based urine testing that could offer increased flexibility, high accuracy and accommodate the different types of hires they experience. In January 2008, the medical center chose to supplement its drug program with OraSure's Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test. Since adopting Intercept, Penn State Hershey is now able to provide candidates with a simple and flexible alternative to off-site urine testing.
"The reaction to the Intercept oral fluid testing has been very positive," Richard Welsh, Director of HR Recruitment, said. "The primary reasons are the flexibility it provides and that it allows for greater dignity in the collection process while achieving highly accurate results. Compared with other collection methods, it's just easier to put a swab in your mouth."
That's saying a lot, given the volume of drug testing the medical center performs in a given year. Penn State Hershey is one of the leading teaching and research hospitals in the country. At any given time, Penn State Hershey employs more than 7,500 individuals and hires close to 1,000 external candidates per year.
Like other healthcare organizations, Penn State Hershey has a strict policy in place to ensure that 100 percent of new hires undergo pre-employment drug screening before they begin their first day of work. From the time that they accept the job offer, candidates have three days to complete a drug screen.
Prior to 2008, Penn State Hershey was relying solely on a urine-based drug screening process. New hires would either have to complete this test at an off-site urine collection facility or at the on-site employee health office. However, according to Welsh, Penn State Hershey was running into certain challenges with this program.
"One challenge we faced with our urine-based drug screening program was that our employee health office simply does not have the bandwidth to handle the volume of candidates we hire," Welsh explained. "It was also extremely difficult to screen the mass hires of medical residents each June, when approximately 170 residents are hired and start their residency."
Accommodating short-notice hires was another challenge.
"The urine collection facilities often have limited evening and weekend business hours, so we were running into issues with the candidate's ability to complete the drug screen within our three day window," he continued.
And finally, every once in a while, there was a case where a job candidate was "simply unable to provide a urine sample", Welsh said. "We wanted to come up with an alternative solution."
Penn State Hershey turned to OraSure and the Company's Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test, an FDA-cleared laboratory-based oral fluid drug testing system that enables accurate testing for drugs of abuse. Its 3-step (swab, snap and seal) collection process is fast and easy-to-administer, making it ideal for workplace drug testing. Once a sample is collected, the test is sent to a SAMSHA-certified lab for analysis and confirmation of results.
At Penn State Hershey, Intercept solved the problem of screening 160+ resident hires in a short time period; it is now as simple as handing out the saliva collection devices.
"Because candidates actually administer the test to themselves, it's easier and more efficient to screen multiple people at the same time. Now, they can just sit down in a group and get it all done at once," Welsh described.
The Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test provides greater flexibility for short-notice hires as well, because collecting a saliva sample is not contingent on business hours of the off-site urine collection facilities – local candidates are able to drive over to the Penn State Hershey recruitment office whenever it is convenient for them.
Welsh also noted that out-of-town candidates could complete a drug screen using the Intercept test while they are at the facility for their job interview. This "opportunity screen" is an option that many appreciate.
Finally, in the event that a candidate is simply unable to provide a urine sample, Penn State Hershey is able to offer a simple, quick alternative to complete the screen.
Welsh described the reaction of the candidates screened with Intercept as overwhelmingly positive. "Candidates appreciate the ease and flexibility of the test, and the fact that there is much more discretion in collecting the oral-fluid sample, compared with other methods."
He also mentions the consistency and accuracy of the Intercept Oral Fluid Drug Test, and the OraSure service, noting that in "the three years Penn State Hershey has worked with OraSure Technologies we have never had any issues with the billing and results tracking, and they have never lost a sample."
After three years, Welsh is a very satisfied customer. By incorporating the Intercept Drug Test, Penn State Hershey is able to provide the flexibility, speed and accuracy it was striving for with its drug-screening program.
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Boston Medical Center (BMC), a member of Yankee Alliance and the Premier healthcare alliance, is a non-profit 626 bed medical center located in the South End of Boston. It is the largest 24-hour Level 1 trauma center in New England, and one of the busiest – with its emergency department receiving more than 129,000 visits a year. It also was one of the first HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral (CTR) sites in the nation and is now the largest case reporter of HIV in the state of Massachusetts.
BMC serves a diverse community and is disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, which currently affects nearly 15,000 people in the Boston metropolitan area Although Black residents represent only 5.5 percent of the EMA population, they account for 31 percent of total AIDS cases and 35 percent of new AIDS cases. Hispanic residents, who are 7.7 percent of the EMA population, account for 21 percent of total AIDS cases.
In 2003, to help combat this growing epidemic, BMC launched Project Trust, a rapid HIV testing initiative developed in conjunction with BMC’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Massachusetts Department of Public Health aimed at increasing HIV testing across the city of Boston. Project Trust was launched with three key objectives: find all HIV positive patients in the region, link all HIV positive patients to care, and prevent new cases of HIV.
Project TRUST is implemented in four different areas of the hospital: the public health STD clinic, the inpatient clinic, the emergency department and the Project TRUST drop-in center, a free-standing clinic.
All testing is conducted with the OraQuick ADVANCE HIV-1/2 Antibody test, providing results to patients in 20 minutes. The testing is performed by trained counselors who both administer the rapid HIV test and counsel the patient at the point of care. All testing is overseen by BMC’s Department of Laboratory Medicine to ensure regulatory compliance.
To date, Project Trust has been a great success, achieving its key objectives of identifying more people with HIV, testing more individuals for HIV and linking HIV positive individuals to immediate care. The Project tests approximately 7,000 people annually, and since the launch of the project, the linkage to care for HIV positive individuals at BMC has increased from 85% to 100%. Additionally, the reaction from patients and the community has been very positive and supportive.
"Through Project Trust, we have been able to identify people who may have never known that they had HIV – because they did not fit a specific risk profile, they did not seek regular medical care, or for one of many other potential reasons," said Jo Ann Crain, Point of Care Specialist, Dept. of Lab Medicine, Boston Medical Center. "Additionally, we have been able to provide those who test negative with their results in 20 minutes, instead of the traditional two-week wait. The program has been very well-received by the patients, the hospital staff, and the South End community."
BMC attributes the success of the program to the collaborative effort across hospital departments, the use of OraQuick ADVANCE, a dedicated, well-trained staff and a culture of support around the entire hospital and from the Massachusetts Department of Health.
"Project Trust continues to exceed our expectations in terms of our ability to identify persons with HIV and immediately connect them to care," said Jo Ann Crain, Point of Care Specialist, Dept. of Lab Medicine, Boston Medical Center. "It is a model of true collaboration between our hospital, the city and state, and OraSure Technologies, who provides excellent support throughout the program."
This year for World AIDS Day, OraSure Technologies partnered with MTV International to develop a series of "video diaries" in support of MTV's Staying Alive Campaign. The campaign is active around the world, and aims to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, provide information about prevention and encourage routine HIV testing.
The video diaries, featuring young adults being tested for HIV, show the use of the OraQuick® ADVANCE rapid oral fluid test. The videos follow the individuals throughout the process and demonstrate how easy it is to be tested with OraSure's oral fluid technology. In the weeks surrounding World AIDS Day, the videos were distributed and aired with all the MTV affiliates worldwide, and were also posted to the OraSure homepage to raise awareness for the global cause.
The first video features an MTV ambassador and takes place at Out of the Closet, one of AIDS Healthcare Foundation's testing locations in Los Angeles. The second video takes place at Barts in the United Kingdom and features two employees of MTV International.
Following the opening of the NASDAQ market in honor of World AIDS Day on December 1, OraSure's President and CEO Douglas Michels took the Company's rapid oral fluid HIV test at a mobile HIV testing van in Times Square, New York City.
In partnership with OraSure Technologies, the Community Health Network (CHN) provided free OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV testing throughout the day at CHN's mobile testing van on World AIDS Day, December 1. World AIDS Day has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services. A photo of OraSure's President and CEO Douglas A. Michels, taking an OraQuick test at the CHN mobile van, was featured in the Wall Street Journal on December 2.
OraSure Technologies President and CEO Douglas A. Michels took the company’s rapid HIV test, provided free outside NASDAQ in honor of World AIDS Day, after helping open the market on Wednesday.
OraSure's President and CEO Douglas A. Michels joined Company employees, New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane and Assemblyman Darryl C. Towns on December 1st in ringing the NASDAQ opening bell to raise awareness for the 23rd annual World AIDS Day.
At the NASDAQ MarketSite, New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane and Assemblyman Darryl C. Towns issued a proclamation on behalf of the State of New York honoring the late Dennis deLeon, the Founder and former Executive Director of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and one of the primary champions of the recent New York State HIV testing law (S8227 and A.11487), which encourages routine HIV testing for all people aged 13 to 64.
Routine HIV testing is critical in New York as more than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV, and there are thousands more who don't know they're infected (NYC Dept of Health). Locally, OraSure supported two HIV testing vans in Times Square and Washington Square through the Community Health Network and Planned Parenthood respectively to help spread the message of awareness and enable local citizens to learn their status.
Nationwide, OraSure supported more than 150 rapid HIV testing sites in 25+ states, as well as supported numerous testing events throughout the world, in recognition of World AIDS Day.
December 1, 2010 marked the 23rd annual World AIDS Day, a global effort declared by the World Health Organization in 1988 to highlight the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and focus the world's attention on HIV/AIDS for one day each year. Since its launch, World AIDS Day has progressively become one of the most successful international days for raising awareness of a global issue.
OraSure’s CEO Douglas Michels and Company employees join key legislators, customers and partners at the NASDAQ Marketsite in ringing the bell on December 1st in honor of the 23rd annual World AIDS Day.
Mark Jannot, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science, presents Douglas A. Michels, OraSure's President and CEO with a 2010 Best of What's New Award for its OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test, the first ever rapid, point-of-care test approved by the FDA for the detection of antibodies to the HCV (hepatitis C) virus.
"We are honored to be recognized by Popular Science as an innovative company that is making revolutionary strides in helping to identify more at risk individuals infected with hepatitis C," said Douglas A. Michels. "This award is a reflection of OraSure's dedication to improving healthcare around the globe through our diagnostic technologies, and in particular, our OraQuick® rapid platform, on which our rapid HCV and HIV tests are built."
Hepatitis C continues to be a growing problem with an estimated 180 million people worldwide who are chronically infected with HCV. According to the World Health Organization, most cases of HCV infection are currently undiagnosed and up to 80 percent of HCV-positive individuals show no signs or symptoms.
OraSure's President and CEO Douglas A. Michels accepts Best of What's New Award from Popular Science's Editor-in-Chief Mark Jannot. Left to right: Mark Jannot, New York State Assemblyman Darryl C. Towns, New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane, Douglas A. Michels, and Catherine Abate, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Health Network.
The Louisiana Office of Public Health HIV/AIDS program, in partnership with OraSure Technologies, conducted free HIV testing at the 37th Annual Bayou Classic football game on November 27th. The screenings took place on the day of the game, and utilized the OraQuick® ADVANCE rapid oral fluid HIV test, which provides results in 20 minutes.
Louisiana ranks fourth in the nation for AIDS case rates per capita, while Baton Rouge as a city ranks second overall and New Orleans follows close behind at third (2008, CDC).
By offering HIV testing at the Bayou Classic game, the Louisiana Office of Public Health hopes to decrease stigma of HIV and present the message that testing for HIV is important and simple: "It's just like getting your blood pressure and glucose screening," explained testing staff at the event.
"If people with HIV have the virus diagnosed early, they are able to receive treatment and care in advance to delay the onset of AIDS," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "Early diagnosis also gives us the opportunity to provide outreach and education, helping those with HIV better understand how they can avoid spreading the virus to others."
At a press conference prior to the HIV testing event, DeAnn Gruber, PhD, LCSW –Administrative Director, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Public Health HIV-AIDS Program, talks to local media about the importance of getting tested.
The Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, the oldest and largest AIDS service center in New Jersey, hosted a Gala on November 13th to celebrate the Foundation's 25 years of service and commitment to the HIV/AIDS community, and honor OraSure and its CEO Douglas Michels, along with two other local leaders, in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The Hyacinth AIDS Foundation recognized Douglas Michels for making rapid HIV testing available and affordable to millions of people worldwide.
Michels has dedicated his career to advances in the healthcare industry, particularly in the areas of HIV, Hepatitis and Drugs of Abuse diagnostics. His recognition is a testament to the work that OraSure Technologies has done to advance HIV diagnostics on a national and global scale.
Among other local leaders honored were Congressman Frank Pallone for helping secure over $1.5 billion in federal funds for the fight against AIDS and Laurence Ganges from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services for working to assure that people living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey are connected to care and have access to medical and mental health care.
The event was a tremendous success with 175 guests in attendance, raising over $100,000.
New Jersey currently ranks 5th in the nation in HIV infection and 3rd in the proportion of women who are HIV positive.
From left to right, Hyacinth Trustee Dr. Bryan Baugh, The Hyacinth Award recipient Douglas Michels and Hyacinth Executive Director Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien. Pictured at the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation 25th Anniversary Gala and Silent Auction.
OraSure Technologies has been named as a winner of the Popular Science "Best of What's New" Awards in 2010, which recognize the top technology innovations of the year. The OraQuick® HCV Rapid Antibody Test, which was approved by the FDA for the detection of antibodies to the HCV (hepatitis C) virus in venous whole blood specimens, was chosen from thousands of new and innovative products to receive the award.
In the U.S., there are an estimated 4.1 million Americans, or 1.6 percent of the population, that are or have been infected with HCV. According to the World Health Organization, most cases of HCV infection are currently undiagnosed and up to 80 percent of HCV-positive individuals show no signs or symptoms. The OraQuick HCV Test has the potential to significantly further efforts to quickly diagnose Hepatitis C- enabling patients to receive treatment before HCV progresses to liver disease. The Popular Science issue hits newsstands today.
"For 23 years, Popular Science has honored the innovations that surprise and amaze us − those that make a positive impact on our world today and challenge our views of what's possible in the future." said Mark Jannot, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science. "The Best of What's New Award is the magazine's top honor, and the 100 winners – chosen from among thousands of entrants – represent the highest level of achievement in their fields. We congratulate OraSure and its employees on this accomplishment."
A press conference was held Wednesday, October 13th on the steps of NYC City Hall to kick off the 8th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. City Council Members, community leaders, health educators, advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS attended the event to help call attention to the importance of HIV testing and prevention in the Latino community.
Observed on Friday, October 15, 2010, NLAAD is a national day of awareness and prevention against HIV/AIDS in the Latino community. With the theme, Save a Life, It May be your Own. Get Tested for HIV, NLAAD is a call to action for Latinos to get tested for HIV and take a stand, as a cohesive community, against this devastating epidemic.
Across the U.S., Latinos and Hispanics continue to be disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Latinos comprise over 27% percent of the NYC populations and 32% of HIV/AIDS cases (NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene).
OraSure Technologies supported NLAAD through the donation of OraQuick® ADVANCE rapid oral fluid HIV tests to community health organizations across the country. Through this donation, many of the participating organizations were able to offer free oral fluid HIV testing to the public.
The press conference held at City Hall on October 13, 2010 brought City Council Members, community leaders, health educators, advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS together in an effort to call attention to the importance of HIV testing and prevention in the Latino community.
New York Governor David Paterson recently signed into law a bill that requires hospitals and primary care offices to offer an HIV test to people aged 13 to 64 seeking medical services.
This means that New Yorkers can expect to be offered an HIV test when they receive health-related services in a primary care setting or a hospital, either as inpatients or as emergency-room patients. The new law also simplifies the process of informed consent. Under the state's old law, patients could not receive HIV tests unless they first provided specific written consent. Under the new law, patients can consent to a rapid HIV test by signing a general consent for medical care or by having a documented verbal exchange with the provider who orders the test.
"By making HIV testing a routine part of health care, this legislation will increase HIV testing rates, letting people learn their status and begin treatment at an earlier stage, which can significantly improve the length and quality of life and help reduce transmission of the disease," said Governor Paterson in a recent press release.
According to the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, more than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV, but thousands more don't know they're infected. Now with rapid oral fluid HIV testing, routine screening will enable HIV positive individuals to get their results in 20 minutes and linked immediately to care.
For additional information on the new legislation, click here.
Click here to view videos from the following individuals/organizations in New York:
October 15, 2010 will mark the 8th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD). In recognition of this day, OraSure is partnering with the Latino Commission on AIDS to provide support to help raise awareness on the importance of getting tested for HIV.
NLAAD is a nationwide call to action for Latinos to protect their lives and the lives of those they love by getting tested and learning about HIV. With the theme, "Save a life. It may be your own," NLAAD is the culmination of a month of activities designed to create action and awareness about the importance of HIV testing and prevention in the Latino community. Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They comprise over 24.3% percent of HIV/AIDS cases nationwide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
This year's events will kick off on September 23rd with a Congressional Hearing in Washington, D.C. addressing Health Reform and a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for Latino/Hispanic Communities.
The Latino Commission on AIDS will also sponsor a testing event and press conference in New York the week of October 11th. Special guests at the event may include the 2010 Miss Universe, Jimena Navarrete of Mexico. The 2009 Miss Dominican Republic U.S., Mariela Lucas, attended last year's event and took an OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV test, encouraging others to get tested and learn their HIV status. The 2009 Miss Universe, Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela, was also tested with an OraQuick ADVANCE® test in recognition of the day.
At the 2009 National Latino AIDS Awareness Day kickoff event in NYC, Miss Dominican Republic U.S., Mariela Lucas, takes the OraQuick ADVANCE Rapid HIV Test to draw attention to the critical role HIV testing and prevention education plays in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS among Latinos.
OraSure Technologies recognized National HIV Testing Day 2010 by supporting HIV testing and prevention initiatives across the U.S. during the week of June 20 – 27.
More than 100 mayors from across the country stood in unity on National HIV Testing Day as part of NAPWA and OraSure's Mayors Campaign Against HIV™, a national campaign to encourage testing for HIV and promote the benefits of knowing one's HIV status. The Mayors of New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Detroit, Dallas and San Diego are among those who supported the initiative by hosting HIV testing campaigns in their cities, conducting press conferences, issuing proclamations, and leading by example by receiving an HIV test to demonstrate the importance of knowing your HIV status.
NAPWA held a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to recognize the participating Mayors and promote testing events across the country. Press conference participants included Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Christopher Bates, Director, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy and Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director, Department of Health, District of Columbia Department of Health, among others. Rapid HIV Testing with the OraQuick ADVANCE® was conducted after the event on Capitol Hill.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters takes an OraQuick HIV Test
Additionally, in conjunction with the Mayors Campaign against HIV, OraSure joined forces with the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) to encourage Black clergy members across the U.S. to partner with local community-based organizations to promote testing in their communities. Ministers and congregations in more than 100 places of worship in major cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta participated in the initiative.
Thousands of people across the U.S. got tested for HIV during the week. One such person documented her story on CNN to encourage others to get tested. In her video, she describes the ease of taking an OraQuick ADVANCE® test.
May 19, 2010 is World Hepatitis Day. Sponsored by the World Hepatitis Alliance, World Hepatitis Day is a worldwide observance aimed at increasing awareness of viral hepatitis and increasing prevention education. The theme of this year's observance is ‘This is hepatitis...' This new campaign theme for World Hepatitis Day aims to tell the human story of viral hepatitis and continue the battle of raising awareness of hepatitis around the world.
One of the most important aspects of awareness is ensuring people know the importance of getting screened for hepatitis – and how fast and easy the process has become. OraSure Technologies recently introduced OraQuick HCV, a rapid HCV test that provides accurate HCV results in less than twenty minutes. The test is currently available for sale in the EU and OraSure has submitted data to the FDA for its approval in the U.S. The test is not currently available in the U.S.
Two of the world's leading experts in hepatitis C recently discussed OraSure's rapid HCV test at the European Association for the Study of the Liver 2010 meeting in April.
Rafael Esteban, MD: Head, Internal Medicine, Hepatology, and Liver Unit, Universitari Vall D'Hebron, Spain
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Jean-Michel Pawlotsky, MD, PhD: Chief, Department of Virology, Henri Mondor University Hospital, France
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Located in Bronx, New York, St. Barnabas serves a community at the epicenter of the nation's HIV crisis. According to New York City estimates, as many as three of every 100 residents in the St. Barnabas neighborhood are infected with HIV. St. Barnabas is dedicated to not only caring for the sick but to ensuring the well stay healthy, too. Part of this commitment means helping community members learn their HIV status so HIV positive people can be connected to care and empowered to change their behavior to protect others.
Born out of this commitment, the St. Barnabas hospital-wide routine HIV testing program was launched in April of 2008 and today has grown into one of the largest and most successful programs in the country.
St. Barnabas leverages OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid oral fluid testing to quickly and easily test patients across the hospital including the Emergency, Ambulatory Care and Inpatient departments, among others. Since the launch of the routine program, St. Barnabas has increased the number of rapid tests in a year by nearly 10 fold – from just 1,400 in 2007 to more than 13,000 in 2009. Better yet, the hospital is on track to exceed that number in 2010.
St. Barnabas attributes the success of the program to a streamlined consent process, the use of rapid oral fluid testing, a dedicated, well-trained staff and a culture of support around the entire hospital.
OraSure recently sat down with Ralph Belloise, Director of HIV Services at St. Barnabas to discuss the success of the program and what other hospitals can learn from it.
The St. Barnabas HIV testing staff, known locally as the "Dream Team," participate in a World AIDS Day event to help raise awareness of the importance of knowing one's HIV status.
On March 10th, Debra Fraser-Howze, OraSure's Vice President of Government and External Affairs and the Founder of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and U.S. Surgeon General, VADM, Regina M. Benjamin, MD, were among those speaking at the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Event in Washington DC. The event, hosted by the Office on Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was being held at the National Press Club. Ms. Fraser-Howze discussed local and regional strategies for combating HIV/AIDS among women and girls.
You can watch the webcast of the event at: www.visualwebcaster.com/Women-Girls-Awareness-Day
D. Fraser-Howze and Frances Ashe-Goins, Acting Director, Office of Women's Health, HHS
In April 2008, the Downtown Los Angeles VA Outpatient Clinic became the first VA clinic in the country to offer rapid HIV testing to patients on a routine basis. Since the program's launch, more than 450 patients have been tested. The program, based on a foundational research project led by Dr. Henry Anaya, uses rapid oral fluid HIV testing which is easy to administer, patient-friendly and provides highly accurate results in a single visit.
This progressive program now serves as a model for other VA clinics nationwide that are responding to the Veteran's Health Administration's August 2009 directive that recommended that HIV testing be part of the routine medical care that is offered to all veterans. This move by the VA will bring routine HIV testing to more VA Clinics nationwide, enabling more veterans to learn their status and empowering HIV positive patients to get connected to care immediately.
In support of the new routine HIV Testing directive and based largely on the success of the Downtown LA Clinic, the VA has created several resources to help guide VA clinics on the implementation of routine HIV testing programs.
Dr. Henry D. Anaya. Research Scientist, United States Department of Veteran's Affairs, spoke with OraSure about the need for increased testing in the veteran community and how he hopes the routine HIV testing program at the Downtown LA Clinic can serve as a model for other VA clinics who are working to implement routine testing programs.
Dr. Henry D. Anaya, PhD, Research Scientist, United States Department of Veteran's Affairs
Aegis Sciences Corporation is a forensic chemical and drug-testing laboratory specializing in Zero-Tolerance Drug Testing, employee drug testing, professional and amateur sports drug testing, pain management drug testing and post-mortem evaluations. Aegis recently started offering Intercept® oral fluid drug testing as part of their Drug-Free Workplace and Criminal Justice Services.
As a new entrant into the oral fluid drug testing market, Aegis is enthusiastic about the positive response from the market and the expanded sales and marketing opportunity this method of testing offers the company. In this podcast, Jamey Yawn, the Sales Manager of Forensics at Aegis, discusses the company's recent implementation of oral fluid drug testing and the numerous benefits Aegis has realized working with OraSure Technologies to implement the offering.
Jamey Yawn, Sales Manager of Forensics at Aegis Sciences Corporation
In its third year of participation, OraSure Technologies' employees increased their donation of Holiday Hope Chests to a record quantity of 300 – that translates to more than one donated Chest per employee. The chests were made possible by the personal donations of OraSure's employees who generously gave their personal time and effort to the project which included purchasing toys, securing empty shoe boxes and gift wrapping each individual package.
This year marks the 10th year for Holiday Hope Chests, a national project adopted by the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley in conjunction with other partners to help less fortunate children living in the Lehigh Valley. Collected Chests (shoeboxes) are being distributed in the Lehigh Valley through agencies serving children throughout the holiday season. Despite the tough economy, OraSure employees doubled their holiday donations to the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley.
A high percentage of children live in poverty in the Lehigh Valley. According to the United Way of the Lehigh Valley, 1/3 or 33% of Lehigh Valley children live in low-income households (family of 4) of $40,000 or less.
Watch the video: http://wfmz.com/view/?id=1308287
OraSure employees deliver over 300 Holiday Hope Chests to the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley.
OraSure Employees Sheryl Richter, Barbara Keller, and Amy Wimer participate in the 10th annual Holiday Hope Chest campaign.
OraSure Technologies would like to pay tribute to our dear friend Dennis deLeon, the founder and executive director of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and a tireless advocate for Latinos living with HIV, who passed away on Monday, December 14, 2009.
As one of the first openly HIV-positive Latino leaders in the country, Dennis made a tremendous impact on the HIV/AIDS community.
"Earlier this week, the city lost a leader, the state a statesman and the country a champion," said Debra Fraser-Howze, Vice President, Government Relations and External Affairs at OraSure and founder of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. "I had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Dennis for nearly 30 years, as he fought to reduce the stigma associated with HIV and to increase HIV testing and prevention throughout the Latino community. Dennis touched the lives of many of us here at OraSure and we will miss him dearly."
For 15 years, Dennis was the President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, a national service and advocacy organization addressing HIV/AIDS and health disparities in the Latino community nationwide. In his capacity as Commission President, Dennis served as the Manhattan delegate on the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which reviewed police misconduct allegations, and on several other boards, including the New York City HIV/AIDS Planning Group, Gay Men's Health Crisis, Housing Works, and the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership.
Prior to his tenure at the Commission, Dennis served as Chair/Commissioner for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, where he enforced human rights laws and increased cooperation between diverse ethnic and racial communities.
"The Latino Commission on AIDS has lost a great leader and we have lost a great friend," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "I know the Commission will continue to carry out the great work that Dennis began and as Company, we stand committed, more than ever, to further grow our partnership with the Commission to ensure that Dennis' legacy lives on."
Dennis deLeon (center with sportscoat) and the staff at the Latino Commission on AIDS pose with donated OraQuick test kits for National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in 2008.
OraSure is proud to announce that it has received CE mark approval for its OraQuick® Rapid HCV Antibody Test, enabling the Company to introduce the product for use and sale in the 27 countries that currently make up the European Union. The OraQuick® Rapid HCV Antibody Test is the first and only rapid Hepatitis C test bearing a CE mark that can be used with oral fluid.
On a world-wide basis, there are an estimated 180 million people who are chronically infected with HCV, with an estimated three to four million individuals newly infected each year. According to the World Health Organization, most HCV infections are currently undiagnosed and up to 80 percent who have HCV show no signs or symptoms.
According to a new report issued by the UK Health Protection Agency on December 11, 2009, entitled "Hepatitis C in the UK - The Health Protection Agency Annual Report 2009," it is currently estimated that approximately 185,000 individuals in the UK are chronically infected with Hepatitis C, including more than 8,000 people who were diagnosed in 2008 in England.
OraSure recently spoke with Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, the national charity for HCV in the United Kingdom, about his perspectives on Hepatitis C in the UK and the potential impact rapid oral fluid testing could have on enabling them to reach more people who would otherwise not have access to testing.
Charles Gore, Chief Executive of The Hepatitis C Trust, the national charity for HCV in the United Kingdom
Today, December 1, 2009, marks the 22nd observance of World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is an international day of remembrance dedicated to honoring those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. It is also a day of action that inspires the world to push forward with purpose and determination on education, prevention and treatment initiatives related to HIV and AIDS.
While much has been accomplished in the past two decades in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, the crisis and epidemic is far from over. Nearly 2 million people worldwide died from the disease in 2008 and unfortunately thousands more will be infected with the virus during the coming year.
OraSure is committed to working in partnership with local, national and international agencies in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This year we are extremely proud to support more than 65 education, prevention and testing events and initiatives taking place in the United States and in countries across the globe.
For example, in Italy, we are supporting Milan's HIV Reference Center and the launch of a mobile HIV testing initiative– among the first of its kind in the country. In South Korea, we are supporting the country's World AIDS Day launch of a new, progressive initiative that will bring HIV testing to dental offices throughout the country. The dental HIV testing program will leverage OraQuick ADVANCE® and its rapid oral fluid testing capability.
While in the U.S., OraSure is helping to promote dozens of events nationwide. Through the distribution of palm cards, posters and banners, sites have been able to promote HIV testing and the events they are holding in conjunction with World AIDS Day.
Please join in honoring those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS and to also continue the drive forward in the fight against this epidemic.
Telemundo: Watch the Video
In support of the 7th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) on October 15, 2009, OraSure has partnered with the Latino Commission on AIDS to launch the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Rapid HIV Testing Initiative.
NLAAD is a nationwide call to action for Latinos to protect their lives and the lives of those they love by getting tested and learning about HIV. With the theme, "United We Can Stop HIV and Prevent AIDS", NLAAD is a day of action and awareness.
OraSure has provided public relations support for NLAAD to raise awareness about the importance of testing and prevention of HIV, in addition to contributing OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid HIV tests to more than 75 community health organizations specifically for use on National Latino AIDS Awareness Day.
Leading up to NLAAD, the New York City NLAAD Planning Committee and Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito hosted a kickoff event on October 7th to draw attention to the critical role of HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of AIDS.
At the kickoff event, Miss Dominican Republic U.S. (Mariela Lucas), Dr. Monica Sweeney (NYC DOHMH, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control) and Carlos Santos (MTV3res) all took the OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid HIV test using a simple oral fluid sample in front of the public to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention among Latinos.
Latinos continue to be disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. They comprise over 24.3% percent of HIV/AIDS cases nationwide (CDC). There are 94,000 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS in NYC; of that total number, 28 percent are Hispanic/Latino (NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene). New York State is the state with the highest number of Latinos living with HIV/AIDS (CDC).
At the National Latino AIDS Awareness Day kickoff event on October 7th in NYC, Miss Dominican Republic U.S., Mariela Lucas, takes the OraQuick rapid HIV Test to draw attention to the critical role of HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of AIDS among Latinos.
Recognized as one of the world's greatest health care providers by TIME and U.S.News & World Report, Duke University Hospital is continually looking to improve the level of care and services it provides to its patients.
In December 2008, led by Dr. Charles Hicks and Dr. Mehri McKellar, Duke University Hospital launched a two-year routine HIV testing pilot program in the Hospital's emergency room department. The program aims to address the growing number of infections in the Southeastern states and utilizes two groups of testers– pastoral counselors and medical student volunteers – to offer testing to patients admitted to the ER. Since January of 2009, over 1000 patients have been approached and nearly 700 were screened for HIV using OraQuick ADVANCE®.
Dr. McKellar spent time with OraSure recently, discussing the progress of the Hospital's routine testing pilot program and what's in-store for the program in the future.
Mehri McKellar, M.D., is an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Duke University Hospital. Dr. McKellar also serves as an assistant professor at Duke University Medical School.
Located in Brooklyn, New York, the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation (ARTC) is one of the largest non-hospital based methadone treatment centers in New York State. ARTC faces many of the same challenges seen by other drug treatments centers, but with thousands of patients coming through their programs each year, the challenges were magnified.
Obstacles included gender issues related to staffing and observing urine sample collection, limited ability to protect against urine sample adulteration and the drain on resources due to the length of time and number of staff members needed to conduct urine-based testing. ARTC recognized the need for a drug testing system that would address these challenges and they turned to OraSure's Intercept® Oral Fluid Drug Test.
Oral fluid drug testing with Intercept® enables ARTC staff to directly observe sample collection and eliminates the need for restroom facilities. As a result, the Clinic has increased the number of patients that can be tested at one time, decreased the incidences of sample adulteration, as well as increased patient comfort and privacy.
Dr. Robert Sage, Senior Vice President, Division of Human Services, ARTC, sat down with OraSure to talk about the challenges of traditional urine-based drug testing and the highly positive impact that oral fluid drug testing has had on ARTC's drug testing program.
Dr. Robert Sage, Senior Vice President, Division of Human Services Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation
HIV testing at the dentist's office? Yes. With patients visiting twice annually and the convenience of rapid oral fluid testing technology, the dentist's office is an ideal location – just ask Dr. Catrise Austin, D.D.S of VIP Smiles.
VIP Smiles is a progressive, New York City-based dental practice lead by expert cosmetic dentist, Dr. Austin. Responding to the CDC's recommendation for routine HIV screening and the high rate of HIV infection in New York City, Dr. Austin partnered with the New York State Department of Health to launch a routine HIV testing program at her dental practice.
The program was launched in early August and leverages OraQuick ADVANCE®. As part of the routine testing program, all patients who enter the office will be offered an oral fluid HIV test. VIP Smiles sees hundreds of patients per month and hopes to serve as a model for dentists across the country.
On Saturday, October 17, Dr. Austin will speak on the Technical Assistance Panel at the 2009 Conference on Oral Pathology & Rapid HIV Testing in the Dental Setting at the New York University College of Dentistry. The conference is devoted to the advancement of the art and science of dentistry in service to the public.
Dr. Catrise Austin, D.D.S., discusses the importance of routine HIV screening and why dental practices make an ideal location for routine screening programs.
In late August 2009, OraSure Technologies sat down to speak with Dr. Celia Maxwell, the Assistant Vice President of Health Services at Howard Hospital, about the Hospital's routine HIV testing program.
Howard University Hospital is located in Washington D.C. and serves a local population that represents the highest incidence rate of HIV infection in the country. The Hospital launched its routine HIV testing program in October 2006 – both to help the City meet its goal of having every citizen know their HIV status and in response to the revised guidelines for HIV testing issued by the CDC in September of 2006 that recommend routine screening regardless of risk.
The program offers HIV screening with OraQuick ADVANCE® to every patient in the outpatient, inpatient and emergency room settings. Since the launch of the program, the Hospital has tested more than 28,500 patients and connected more than 250 patients to care. Howard University Hospital's program has been a resounding success and serves as a model for hospitals across the Country.
Dr. Celia Maxwell, Assistant Vice President of Health Services at Howard Hospital. Dr. Maxwell is also the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Management and Research and the Director of HIV routine screening program at the Hospital.
In Los Angeles County, one in four people who are infected with HIV don't know it, but the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Office of AIDS Programs and Policy is aiming to change that. The department recently held its first ever "Test-Fest" event on Saturday, July 25th at Ted Watkins County Park in an effort to normalize HIV testing and make it as convenient as possible.
Approximately 3,000 people attended and more than 200 people were tested with the OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid oral fluid HIV test.
"Test Fest" is part of "Virus," a multi-faceted HIV Testing campaign recently launched by the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy that is designed to make Angelenos ask the question: "Could I have HIV?" The campaign includes a series of "Test-Fest" events that bring HIV testing mobile units into the community.
The first "Test-Fest" event took on July 25, 2009, and included live entertainment with approximately 10 mobile HIV testing units at the event. More than 200 Southern California residents were tested with OraQuick ADVANCE® and received their results before leaving the event.
Local participants stand in front of one of approximately 10 mobile testing vans used in the first ever "Test-Fest" event at Ted Watkins County Park in Los Angeles to help normalize HIV testing and make it as convenient as possible. PHOTO BY ERASEDOUBT.ORG
"We developed a campaign around the idea that people go through several stages when considering HIV and how the disease affects them," said Mario J. Pérez, Director, Office of AIDS Programs and Policy. "Our goal is to move people from assessing their risk, to questioning whether or not they have HIV and finally getting tested and, if necessary, seeking treatment."
The next Test-Fest event is estimated to take place in October.
In 2001, the North Bronx Healthcare Network, which includes Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital, launched Project BRIEF — Behavior intervention, Rapid HIV test, Innovative video, Efficient cost and health care savings, and Facilitated seamless linkage to outpatient HIV care – a routine HIV testing program initiated to help increase the number of people tested for HIV/AIDS in the two hospitals. The project, led by Dr. Jason Leider and Dr. Yvette Calderon, and funded by the New York City Health Department, provides HIV screening counseling via private HIV "kiosks" while patients wait for the results of their OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid oral fluid screening results. Patients who test positive are immediately connected to care. The program is a key part of "The Bronx Knows" – a progressive campaign that aims to offer HIV testing to every Bronx adult in the next three years.
From October 2005 to April 2009, 33,325 patients were approached in the Jacobi and North Central Bronx emergency departments and urgent care areas and 29,094 agreed to be tested for HIV. Of those, 134 were newly diagnosed with HIV and connected to care.
The success of Project BRIEF has been recognized on a national and international level and the program serves as a model program for routine HIV testing across the country.
In late June 2009, OraSure Technologies sat down to speak with Jorge Gardela, Health and Community Services Manager at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida, about the organization's HIV testing program.
The Center, one of the largest rapid testing sites in Southern Florida, expanded its HIV testing programs in 2005 as a result of the CDC's MMWR publication (June 2005) that indicated that more South Florida men who have sex with men (MSM's) were unaware of their status than in most other urban locations.
In 2006, The Center introduced OraQuick ADVANCE® in an effort to make the process easier and more accessible for the increased number of MSM's who were seeking HIV testing. Since introducing OraQuick ADVANCE®, the Center has increased the number of MSM's who are tested by 400%.
Jorge Gardela, Health and Community Services Manager at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida
Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a bipartisan group of 21 Representatives have joined together to fight for the inclusion of provisions requiring health insurance plans to cover routine HIV tests in the America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (H.R. 3200), the landmark health care reform bill that President Obama has identified as legislation that must be passed in 2009.
In an effort to increase the number of people who know their HIV status and help stem the spread of HIV in America, Congresswoman Waters introduced the Routine HIV Screening Coverage Act (H.R. 2137) which would require health insurance plans to cover voluntarily routine opt-out HIV testing under the same terms and conditions as other routine health screenings, such as cholesterol and diabetes screenings.
Standard health insurance plans generally cover HIV screening only when there are known risk factors present for HIV or when there are clinical indications of infection, such as symptoms of AIDS. This is in direct contrast to the CDC's HIV testing guidelines, which recommend routine testing for all individuals aged 13 to 64, regardless of risk.
"OraSure commends Congresswoman Maxine Waters and other congressional leaders who are fighting for legislation that will help stem the spread of HIV in America and who are standing in support of the CDC's recommendations for routine HIV testing for all Americans, regardless of risk," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "Testing is the first step in prevention. By making HIV testing a standard part of the routine health examinations covered by health insurance providers, millions more people will be tested and will learn their status each year, enabling HIV positive people to seek immediate care."
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) of the 35th District of California is currently serving her tenth term in the House of Representatives
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently updated its informed consent requirements related to HIV testing, eliminating the regulatory requirement for written informed consent for HIV testing and specific pre- and post-test counseling of veteran patients. The new rules go into effect on August 17, 2009.
The newly updated consent requirements will remove significant barriers to routine HIV testing within the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA), making it possible to implement broad-scale, routine HIV screening in alignment with the CDC's recommendation for routine HIV testing for all patients aged 13 to 64, regardless of risk. The VA is the largest integrated healthcare provider in the United States and the single largest provider of HIV care.
"OraSure commends the Department of Veterans' Affairs for updating its consent requirements for HIV testing and removing the barriers that have for years limited access to HIV screening and counseling for veterans," said Douglas A. Michels, President and Chief Executive Officer of OraSure Technologies. "As the single largest provider of HIV services in the Unites States, the VA's actions of ensuring access to testing for all veterans sends a loud and clear message to the healthcare community that HIV testing is the first step in stemming the spread of the HIV crisis. By increasing access to testing, the VA will enable more people learn their status and will empower them to get the care they need to live long and healthy lives."
According to the CDC, African Americans make up approximately 13% of the U.S. population but account for nearly half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. To help raise awareness among the African American community about the importance of HIV testing as a prevention tool, the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), the world's oldest HIV/AIDS service organization, was on hand at the NAACP's annual convention. The convention took place in New York City, July 13 – 15, 2009.
GMHC set-up an on-site testing clinic and offered free HIV tests to attendees. Attendees were offered OraQuick ADVANCE® oral fluid rapid HIV tests and received their results in just twenty minutes. Nearly 100 convention attendees were tested and 100% learned their status. GHMC also distributed HIV prevention materials including educational literature and sexual protection.
GMHC's CEO and one of the Agency's HIV testing administrators took time to speak with us about the importance of rapid oral fluid testing and the impact OraQuick ADVANCE® has had on patients' willingness to be tested.
Ms. Debra Fraser-Howze has spent more than twenty five years in the fight against HIV in the African American community by raising awareness of the disease, educating people about the risk factors and helping to connect HIV-positive people with care.
In recognition of her monumental efforts, Ms. Fraser-Howze, Vice President of Government and External Affairs at OraSure, has received the Scroll of Merit, the National Medical Association's (NMA) highest honor.
The Scroll of Merit is given in recognition of unique exceptional achievement in medicine, science, education or public service. The award was conferred on July 25th at the NMA's Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly in Las Vegas.
Ms. Fraser-Howze has been selected for this high honor because of her important contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the African American community. Ms. Fraser-Howze was the first to mobilize a broad coalition of African American Leaders that included clergy, political leaders, community based organizations and medical professionals in the fight against HIV/AIDS at a time when many were unaware of the disease or the danger to the community.
Prior to joining OraSure, Ms. Fraser-Howze served as the President/CEO of National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), an organization she founded in 1987. NBLCA conducts policy, research and advocacy on HIV and AIDS to ensure effective participation of its leadership in all policy and resource allocation decisions at the national, state and local levels of communities of African descent nationwide. NBLCA is now the largest Black HIV and AIDS non-profit organization of its kind in America.
Ms. Debra Fraser-Howze, Vice President of Government and External Affairs, OraSure Technologies
On June 26, 2009, OraSure Technologies partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) to launch Get Text-ed for HIV, a citywide HIV testing campaign to provide HIV testing site information to residents of Philadelphia via mobile text messages. To kickoff the event, Senator Vincent Hughes took the OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV test using a simple oral fluid sample to draw attention to the critical role of HIV testing in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia.
The Get Text-ed for HIV campaign was launched the day before the 15th annual National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) on June 27. Using a mobile phone, any city resident can send a text message with 'PA' plus their 5 digit 'ZIP CODE' (i.e. PA 19019) to phone number (36363) and receive a free text message with HIV/AIDS information on the HIV testing center location nearest to them.
After the first day, the Get Text-ed for HIV campaign generated 100 new users. More than 60 HIV testing sites throughout Philadelphia are participating in the program. The free service allows residents to receive testing site information in a private and confidential manner.
"We are excited to launch this new innovative campaign promoting the importance of HIV/AIDS prevention and testing in Philadelphia," said Jane Baker, Director of the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office. "This program employs a technology that is already in use among many of the at-risk groups in our city, particularly among young people, who account for more than 18% of new HIV cases in Philadelphia. Our hope is that it becomes an effective tool for increasing HIV testing in our communities."
To kickoff the launch, Senator Vincent Hughes swabbed his mouth with the OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV test to demonstrate the ease-of-use of the first and only FDA approved, rapid oral HIV test that provides greater than 99% accurate results in 20 minutes. Click here to see Senator Hughes taking OraQuick.
HIV/AIDS continues to be a major health crisis in the US including Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, there are approximately 24,668 reported cases to date of HIV/AIDS in Philadelphia.
State Senator Vincent Hughes swabs his mouth with the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV Test to draw attention to the critical role HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of AIDS in Philadelphia. PHOTO BY RON ALLEN
In recognition of National HIV Testing Day, state Sen. Vincent Hughes (3rd from left) was joined by (l to r) Gloria Casarez, City of Philadelphia, William Brawner, Haven Youth Center; Chris Ambrose, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Jane Baker, AIDS Activities Coordinating Office; David Acosta, AIDS Activities
More than 100 mayors from across the country stood in unity on National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) as part of OraSure's Mayors Campaign Against HIV™ to help raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The campaign, in its fifth year, attracted participation of mayors from cities large and small including New York, Phoenix, Seattle, Miami and Athens, Ga.
Mayors showed their support of National HIV Testing Day by hosting HIV testing campaigns in their cities, conducting press conferences, issuing proclamations, and leading by example by receiving an HIV test to demonstrate the importance of knowing your HIV status.
OraSure's Mayors Campaign Against HIVTM is coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS, the nation's oldest organization representing individuals who are HIV positive.
Athens-Clarke Mayor Heidi Davison takes an OraQuick ADVANCE® rapid oral fluid HIV test at AIDS Athens. Photo courtesy of Athens Banner Herald.
On Friday, June 26th, OraSure joined with Frank Oldham, Jr., Executive Director of NAPWA, to preside over the NASDAQ stock market opening bell in honor of National HIV Testing Day.
Joining OraSure's CEO Doug Michels and Mr. Oldham, Jr. on the podium for the ceremony were several special guests, including NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Dr. Monica Sweeney, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Jason Leider and Dr. Yvette Calderon of the North Bronx Healthcare Network of Jacobi and North Central Bronx Hospitals, who run a nationally acclaimed HIV testing program that demonstrates the significant impact of implementing routine HIV testing in healthcare settings, and Broderick Singletary, an HIV-positive individual who was diagnosed through the program at Jacobi several years ago and now speaks out about the importance of learning your HIV status.
Featured during the open and on the NASDAQ Tower in Times Square was a video of "The Bronx Knows" – the successful HIV testing program at Jacobi.
Click here to view the webcast of the event:
OraSure and special guests open the NASDAQ stock market on June 26th for National HIV Testing Day.
On Saturday June 20th, an HIV/AIDS testing event was held to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of racing legend Tim Richmond's death and raise HIV/AIDS awareness within the NASCAR community. The event took place at the Mansfield Sports Motorpark in Mansfield, OH.
Rapid HIV testing with OraQuick was available to all fans under the Mansfield Park grandstand. Approximately 140 people were tested with OraQuick ADVANCE® including notable ARCA Re/Max driver, Tim George Jr.
The testing event took place during the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA RE/MAX 200 and paid tribute to motorsports legend Tim Richmond, known as a highly successful driver whose life was cut short due to the AIDS virus in 1989. Richmond competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (currently the Sprint Cup Series) and was one of Hendrick Motorsports most successful drivers, launching the team to contender status while still in its infancy.
As a tribute to the legend, OraSure Technologies, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Rural AIDS Advisory Group and Richland health teamed up with G-Force Motorsports Marketing, The Goddard Marketing Group and Venturini Motorsports to promote HIV and AIDS awareness in the racing community.
"We are excited to be a part of the HIV/AIDS awareness and testing event because I don't believe folks realize how many people are affected by this disease," said Venturini Motorsports team principal, Billy Venturini. "We see the need for everyone to get tested, so they know their status. It is quick and easy, and we hope all fans and competitors will take a few minutes to get the facts."
This event highlights how HIV/AIDS acceptance and adoption continue to take positive steps within the NASCAR and racing community. Fans who participated in the testing were each given a free t-shirt and entered to win a Richard Petty Driving Experience Ride-Along Experience to be used at one of the 20 locations across the country.
ARCA Re/Max driver Tim George Jr. swabs his mouth with the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test to draw attention to the critical role of HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of AIDS in the racing community. PHOTO BY GODDARD MARKETING GROUP
ARCA truck series driver Mike Young swabs his mouth with the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test preceding the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA RE/MAX 200. PHOTO BY GODDARD MARKETING GROUP
On Sunday, May 17th, 2009, more than 50 employees from OraSure Technologies travelled from its Bethlehem, PA headquarters to New York City to participate in the 24th annual AIDS Walk New York. OraSure participates annually as one of the event's corporate sponsors.
OraSure employees hit the streets with approximately 45,000 participants and raised $5.6 million, according to Gay Men's Health Crisis, which is one of over 50 local AIDS service organizations that benefits from the annual fundraising event.
Since its launch in 1986, AIDS Walk New York has raised over $100 million and has grown into one of the largest AIDS fundraising events in the world. The event is also the world's largest walkathon.
Employees and family members from OraSure Technologies prepare for the 2009 AIDS Walk in New York City.
On Saturday, May 16, 2009, Batesville, Mississippi, native DeShea Townsend from the Pittsburgh Steelers returned to his hometown and helped raise HIV/AIDS awareness along with teammate James Farrior. Townsend took an OraQuick ADVANCE® HIV test to draw attention to the critical role that HIV prevention and education play in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Ten years ago, DeShea Townsend began hosting football clinics for the city's youth to provide a fun, safe, one-day escape to learn fundamental football skills. A decade later, in conjunction with Townsend's 10th annual football camp, the South Panola High School alumnus and defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers added a community health awareness fair in Batesville.
As part of the Health Fair, Townsend, along with teammate James Farrior took the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV test using a simple oral fluid sample to draw attention to the critical role of HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of AIDS and to show people how simple getting tested can be with rapid oral fluid testing.
OraSure donated rapid HIV tests to the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center to help educate local residents about the importance of testing and prevention of HIV. Approximately 50 local residents were tested at the Health Fair.
At the first annual Pay it Forward Health Fair in Batesville, Mississippi, Batesville native and two-time Superbowl champ DeShea Townsend swabs his mouth with the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV Test to draw attention to the critical role HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of AIDS in Mississippi. PHOTO BY MYRA BEAN, THE PANOLIAN
Andrea Beltran Ruggiero
Director, HIV Services
Open Door Family Medical Centers
Open Door Family Medical Centers, a community-based organization serving the underinsured communities of Westchester County, NY, is making strides in the fight against the HIV epidemic. A major service provided by Open Door is HIV testing. Previously, the facilities utilized traditional laboratory-based testing to screen for HIV, but have now switched to rapid testing with OraQuick ADVANCE® using oral fluid.
The introduction of rapid testing with oral fluid has enabled Open Door to administer HIV testing within the community through its mobile testing unit. With the rapid oral fluid test, Open Door has been able to help remove barriers to HIV testing, because community members are able to take the test – a quick swab of the mouth, which requires no needles and no blood – and get their results in as little as 20 minutes. Community members can get tested and walk away with the certainty that they are getting accurate results – they view OraQuick ADVANCE as a test they can trust, and Open Door as a facility they can trust. In 2008, Open Door administered approximately 1,400 HIV tests through their mobile testing units.
In the following video, Open Door Family Medical Centers' Director of HIV Services, Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, discusses how the use of rapid testing with oral fluid through Open Door's mobile units is helping to remove barriers to HIV testing throughout the communities of Westchester County, NY.
On Monday, March 9, 2009, OraSure Technologies was the site of a recognition event that honored Congressman Dent and the work he has done to improve healthcare for veterans, including his work in passing legislation to remove barriers to HIV Testing throughout the VA Health Care System.
Local Veterans, including Gerry Gunari, First Vice President of Pennsylvania's AMVETS chapter and OraSure employees were in attendance.
Congressman Dent is a long-time advocate of HIV testing and prevention and the legislation he championed, which was signed into law, includes a freestanding bill that modernizes the HIV testing policies of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill includes a provision that repeals the 1988 Veterans Benefits and Services law which has limited the implementation of the CDC guidelines for routine HIV testing, counseling and early diagnosis in healthcare settings that were issued in 2006.
By repealing this law, the VA can now adopt the CDC's recommendation of streamlined counseling and can implement routine HIV screening in VA health care settings.
Susan Brink of the Los Angeles Times offers a great summary of the new bill that will make HIV testing guidelines routine within the VA. According to Brink, "another obstacle to routine screening for HIV is about to fall, this time for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the nation's largest provider of HIV care."
The VA system is the largest health care system in the U.S., making it the single largest provider of HIV care. There are 24 million veterans alive today and 5 million veterans receive services from the VA System. Approximately 23,000 Veterans are HIV Positive.
OraSure Technologies' President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Doug Michels, left, presents a gift to Congressman Charles W. Dent, in recognition of his efforts introducing legislation to make HIV test kits more available for vets. The event was held at OraSure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA, Monday March 9, 2009. Other special guests were Gerard Gurnari and Richard White, both of AMVETS, and Charles Jackson, of VFW District 8. PHOTO BY LISA MASSEY
OraSure Technologies' US Military veteran employees (gathered near left of photo) are among those attending the recognition event at OraSure with Congressman Charles W. Dent, and local representatives from AMVETS and VFW Monday March 9, 2009. PHOTO BY LISA MASSEY
Students across the country are getting ready for Spring Break. This year, the to-do list for students at the University of South Alabama includes packing, buying suntan lotionand getting an OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test.
University of South Alabama News
Sexual health concerns deplete resources at SHC
February 23, 2009
As winter warms into summer, there is much more to keeping healthy than just keeping your body toned and tanned: Keep it fine-tuned by being sexually healthy this spring.
Last week, University of South Alabama observed Minority AIDS Awareness Week by offering a free Oraquick Rapid HIV testing Feb. 16 and 17 at the Student Health Center. All testing remained confidential, and results were determined within 20 minutes. Due to the testing's popularity, supplies were depleted before the second day of tests could even begin.
The SHC has stated plans to host another free rapid HIV testing on March 9 and 10, which will prepare everyone by knowing their sexual health status before setting off for Spring Break.
Hospitals and emergency rooms are often the front lines in providing healthcare services to populations at high risk for HIV. Today, hospitals across the country are using OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test to implement routine testing programs that offer patients a comfortable screening procedure and results in just 20 minutes.
Patients waiting in ER offered free HIV test
February 13, 2009
More than 80% give oral sample: hospital
People waiting to be seen in the emergency room at Advocate Trinity Hospital in the Calumet Heights neighborhood don't just get forms to fill out. They're also offered a free HIV test, no matter why they're there.
It's part of an unusual program aimed at getting more people tested for HIV.
Since the program began last May, more than 5,000 people have been tested. The number of people who tested positive was not immediately available.
"We don't wait for patients to come to us," said Donna Sinclair, HIV coordinator for the Southeast Side hospital's emergency department. "Instead, our health educators go to each patient awaiting treatment and provide them with a wealth of informationeverything from how the virus is spread, to who is at risk, to what they need to know about the test."
Fewer than 20 percent of people approached to take the oral HIV test decline, according to Sinclair. The results are back in 20 minutes.
In honor of National HIV Testing Day 2008, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon joined nearly 80 other mayors across the country in the Mayors Campaign Against HIV™ helping to raise awareness of the importance of HIV testing as a prevention tool. Mayor Phil Gordon took an OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test to show how fast and easy HIV testing has become.
July 10, 2008
The mayor of Phoenix joined volunteers and concerned citizens in efforts to raise awareness for national HIV Testing Day on June 27. Phil Gordon held his fourth annual press conference at Higher Heights Church to educate the Valley on the importance of HIV/AIDS testing. "A lot of people still have in their impression HIV/AIDS is somehow related to homosexual orientation, or punishing people for what they have done. Neither of those issues are further away from the truth," Gordon said. National HIV Testing Day is a nationwide effort to promote the benefits of being tested for HIV/AIDS. Nearly 25 percent of the HIV-positive population in the U.S. is unaware they have contracted the disease. In the last few years HIV testing has advanced significantly, from a mind-numbing waiting process to immediate notification. "No longer does an HIV test require blood or needles... but rather an oral swab," Gordon said.
OraSure technologies donated 300 OraQuick antibody tests to the Arizona Department of Health. "The test is safe, painless and accurateit requires just a swab of oral fluid and is greater than 99 percent accurate. Results are available in 20 minutes," according to information supplied by the Mayor's Campaign Against HIV. Judy Norton, office chief for the Arizona Department of Health, has been helping her community deal with HIV since the late '80s. Her program helps prevent, fund and counsel individuals affected by the disease.
SVP, Corporate Communications