Although HIV and AIDS have shifted away from media focus with the spike in cancer and obesity rates, the issue remains urgent in public healthcare. In an attempt to raise awareness and get an early diagnosis, OraSure released a HIV test just as fast and simple as a pregnancy test. With the first home HIV test approved, U.S. is looking at a milestone in fighting the HIV epidemic.
The Food and Drug Administration announced it has approved the first at-home HIV test. The product is branded as OraQuick by its producer and it is said to deliver your results in 20 to 40 minutes. The first over-the-counter HIV test that you could take at home is making it easy to get early diagnosis and manage the disease the best way possible.
Dr. Karen Midthun, director of Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research with the FDA, said: “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”.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1.2 million Americans infected at this point. Each year, about 50,000 people in the U.S. become infected and a staggering number doesn’t even know it. The test should lower the rate of new infections and thus contain the epidemic.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci is head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the first home HIV test approved by the FDA is a “positive step forward”. “If this enhances the number of people you can get into care, the advantages outweigh any objections” added Dr. Fauci.
The at-home HIV test will be available for purchase starting this October in online pharmacies and stores such as Walmart and Walgreens. Health care professionals will benefit of a price discount, paying only $17,50 for a test, while consumers would pay a maximum of $60 for their version.
As a cautionary word, the FDA press release does read: “A negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous three months”.