Diagnostic tests for a range of oral and systemic diseases using fluids sampled from the mouth are under intense investigation and are increasingly being used. Methods exist for identification of HIV antibody and nucleic acid and for other viral infections of the mouth, such as Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus or human herpesvirus-8, which may coexist with HIV. A number of commercial test kits are available, with variable evidence of sensitivity, specificity, and utility. There is intense research on sophisticated but potentially facile handheld in-office devices for many disease markers. Challenges to their uptake require well-designed studies on their practical reliability and utility, with appropriate controls. A range of ethical, social, and political issues need to be addressed in such studies.
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