US Approves At-Home HIV Test Kit

The United States’s Food and Drug Administration has approved a kit that will allow people to learn in the privacy of their own homes whether they are infected or not.

The kit, OraQuick, will work much like a pregnancy test with similar indicators. The test procedure involves taking an oral fluid sample collected by swabbing the upper and lower gums inside a person’s mouth, placing the sample into the kit’s developer vial and then waiting for the result which will take about 20 to 40 minutes. It is expected to be available by October in the United States.

We think this is a positive step forward. While some would think maybe that this could result in home suicides, we think any test that can allow people to know their status quickly is a good thing. The authorities have said that if one tests positive it does not mean that they definitely are positive. It means that they should go and have a test done in a medical setting. The same thing with people who test positive and may have been exposed in the 3 months before the test.

Because the test sensitivity for OraQuick is 92% a false negative can be expected for every 12 results for HIV positive individuals.

We think that the fact people will be able to do this in private will do a world of good for the fight against HIV/AIDS. The drawback is that because there is no immediate counselling available it could expose people to altered mind-states.

It is a positive development, but it comes with a serious warning sign.

  • tamisa

    on this I dont agree,
    1. the test is based on oral fluid, which if misinterpreted, would cause panic, ie, that whole you can get hiv/aids from kissing.
    2. the possibility of a false positive (as opposed to a false negative) is terrible on so many levels, imagine if as a couple you decide to take the test and one is positive (falsely) the other negative, trying to prove that and correct the situation is a whole lot of trouble, a person could get killed even.
    3. As alluded to, without counselling the realisation of being positive in a home setting without a support group or system is just to risky. This is not the same as taking a home diabetes test, its so much deeper.
    4. Whilst USA may have approved the sale of the kit, I think before purchase, people need to go for some sort of counselling, details of the buyer should be recorded, the same way they do if someone buys morphine or such potentially harmful drugs.

    • zoe

      Getting a person’s details then defeats the whole purpose of an in home test.most pple choose not to get tested because of the lack of privacy in today’s world.if you are HIV positive they have to have it down for CDC statistics and such…not knowing if your name is associated with the statistic.But I agree that its a potential risk due to people’s state of minds after getting a positive result…with more education and less stigma this is a step in the right direction.

    • Well we think that as an option it should be made available. Perhaps access should be restricted though