A new HIV take-home test is readily available for folks who may want to forgo a doctor visit and test themselves in private. The Food and Drug Administration approved the OraQuick test, which gives results to the consumer within 20 to 40 minutes of placing the cotton swab in his or her mouth.
Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, was quoted in USA Today, sharing her hopes that this new test will help infected people seek further treatment:
“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.”
This approval comes on the heels of The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention backing Walgreens’ proliferation of rapid HIV tests in communities of color, stating that it hopes that HIV tests become as common as “blood pressure tests.”
As facile as the CDC’s comments are, the stats continue to support its aggressive marketing of “easy” HIV testing. According to its own stats, the CDC reports that black women are disproportionally affected by the virus, with rates of new infections 15 times as high as that of white women and nearly 4 times that of Hispanic/Latina women.
With all the official talk about preventative care, too bad we have heard little talk from government officials concerning the growing support of rapidly repealing America’s marijuana laws, which keep a steady population of newly released prisoners roaming neighborhoods trying to salvage any normalcy they once knew. Studies suggest relaxing drug laws may alleviate the stresses in poor communities that have a hard time helping its institutionalized residents assimilate to civilian life, thus decreasing the chance of folks normalizing risky behavior of all kinds, especially sexual.
Either way, the Obama Administration wants citizens to know what their status is although it stresses that the test is not 100 percent accurate.
Trails done by Orasure, the company which owns the patent, showed that the test is fairly accurate in ruling out the virus, with a 99 percent success rate, but is significantly less precise when determining whether the virus is present in a consumer’s body, with only a 92 percent confirmation rate.
Many medical professionals feel the accuracy rates will fall substantially once it hits the market, as many people will understandably err when using the test.
According to USA Today, Orasure plans to launch the test in October, selling it through retailers like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart, as well as online pharmacies. Whereas the test marketed to health professionals costs about $17.50, Orasure expects the consumer version to sell for more.
The company is not announcing a price yet, but said it would be less than $60. CEO Doug Michels said the additional cost will help pay for a toll-free call center to provide counseling and medical referrals to test users.
All of this news spelled out a jump in the price of Orasure’s stock, climbing 59 cents to 12.09. Who said that President Obama was anti-business?