About 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV infection, and 1 in 5 don’t even know it, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you haven’t been tested for HIV yet, is it because you’re afraid or embarrassed to have it done at the doctor’s office? Or is it the idea of having to sweat it out for 2 weeks while waiting for your test results? Well, what if you could get it done in the privacy of your own home, and have the results in a matter of minutes, not weeks?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved an in-home HIV test called OraQuick, the first over-the-counter, self-administered test for the virus that causes AIDS. You’ll know within 20 to 40 minutes, and it’s as easy as swabbing the upper and lower gums inside your mouth.
The test will be available starting in October at more than 30,000 retailers and online, with an expected retail of about $17.50.
The FDA cautions that a positive result from the OraQuick test does not mean you are 100% infected with HIV, but that additional testing should be done to confirm the results. According to Reuters, clinical trials showed it was accurate 92 percent of the time in diagnosing people who had HIV — meaning one out of every 12 test results would be a false negative.
“Knowing your status is an important factor in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV,” said Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate.”