Government expands use of oral HIV test
The Bush administration said Friday it would permit wider use of an oral test for the AIDS virus that gives results in 20 minutes. The relaxed rules will allow screenings in HIV counseling centers, community health centers and doctors' offices.
In addition, the government will spend almost $5 million to augment testing of intravenous drug users.
"HIV testing has never been easier or more accessible than it is today," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said, announcing the changes in advance of National HIV Testing Day on Sunday.
In March, the government approved the OraQuick test for use mainly in hospitals and large health clinics. The test does not require blood. With OraQuick, a technician wipes a treated cotton swab along the gums, picking up not saliva but cells lining the mouth.
Shepard killer loses bid for sentence reduction
One of two men convicted of murdering gay college student Matthew Shepard lost a bid Friday to have his life sentence reduced.
District Judge Jeffrey A. Donnell rejected Russell Henderson's contention that he was denied effective legal assistance during trial. He argued that his court-appointed lawyers were ineffective because they did not discuss potential appeals.
Henderson and Aaron McKinney kidnapped Shepard in October 1998 and tied him to a fence outside Laramie, where he was pistol-whipped, robbed and abandoned. The 21-year-old University of Wyoming freshman died five days later.
McKinney received two consecutive life sentences after being found guilty of murder.
Henderson pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping to avoid a possible death sentence.