Thanks to OraQuick, you can now learn your HIV status from the privacy of your own home. The FDA-approved OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is now available online and next week will be available in 30,000 retail stores across the U.S. Oraquick is the same test used by doctors, that involve taking a swab from the inside of your mouth and you’ll have the results within 20 minutes. Oraquick will be available in CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, RiteAid, and Walmart. Online, the kit costs $39.99.
Although, this new advancement could be a positive, the CDC warned the FDA that this home testing option could lead to more suicides amongst people who test positive. At the FDA hearings, advocates for AIDS patients handed out copies of an obituary of a San Francisco man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge after learning he was infected. They felt that because there isn’t anyone in person to provide comfort after a positive result it could lead to suicide. But OraQuick does provide a 24 hour 365 days a year hotline for those who need to talk to someone.
Supporters of OraQuick argue that making the test readily available could ease the pressure on people who may not choose to visit a doctor because of the stigma tied to it. The statistics from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention show there are approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. that have HIV and approximately 240,000 of them are unaware of their status. People not aware of their status likely are responsible for the 50,000 new HIV infections that occur each year in the U.S.
According to the New York Times, the test has some drawbacks. The accuracy rate drops when it is used by consumers, as opposed to medical professionals. Researchers found the home test accurate 99.98 percent of the time for people who do not have the virus. By comparison, they found it to be accurate 92 percent of the time in detecting people who do. One concern is the “window period” between the time someone gets the virus and begins to develop the antibodies to it, which the test detects. That can take up to three months.
Oraquick’s website offers a checklist that you should follow before you take the test as well as precautions and warnings:
Here’s your checklist when getting ready for the test:
- Do not eat, drink or use oral care products (such as mouthwash, toothpaste or whitening strips) 30 minutes before starting this test.
- Remove dental products such as dentures or any other products that cover your gums.
- Find a quiet, well lighted place where you can be for at least 20 minutes.
- Always use the directions in the test kit to help read your results correctly.
- If you use glasses to read, you will need them for taking this test.
- Please make sure you have read the information on the back of the outer carton box.
- Make sure you have a timer, watch or something that can time 20 to 40 minutes.
- It may be helpful to have access to a phone to speak directly with a support person.
Warnings & Precautions
- A positive result with this test does not mean that you are definitely infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting.
- A negative result with this test does not mean that you are definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous 3 months.
- If your test is negative and you engage in activities that put you at risk for HIV on a regular basis, you should test regularly.
- This product should not be used to make decisions on behavior that may put you at increased risk for HIV.
- For additional information please refer to the product Package Insert supplied with the test kit.
With at home pregnancy, drug and paternity tests, the U.S now has a home test for everything. Would you purchase an at home HIV testing kit?