At-Home HIV Test Awaits Final Go Ahead
Wednesday is National HIV Testing Day and 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with the virus. One in five Americans does not know they are infected. But now there’s a home test pending approval that produces immediate results. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
From mobile health clinics to the doctor's office, patients can test for the HIV virus. And a test made by Orasure Technologies and used for years by many health care professionals may one day be available for at-home use.
“This is the device itself and so the consumer simply swabs their upper and lower gums and then inserts the device into a solution which enables the test to incubate. Results are available after 20 minutes,” says Doug Michels, CEO of Orasure Technologies.
An FDA advisory committee recently offered unanimous support for Orasure's in-home HIV test. If the FDA approves, it would be the first over-the-counter HIV test to provide immediate results.
“If someone tests positive with the result, they need to see a health care professional and have that positive self test confirmed by additional laboratory analysis. If someone tests negative they can be quite certain that their result is negative, however, if they've had a recent high risk event then we encourage those individuals to test frequently and that could mean as often as every few months,” Michels says.
Orasure hopes FDA approval will come within the next several weeks to several months and it expects the test to retail for less than $60. Dr. Monica Sweeney, NYC’s Assistant Commissioner for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, says if approved, Orasure's in-home test would be one more tool in the fight to prevent the spread of HIV.
“In New York City there are documented 111,000, approximately, people who have been tested and know that they are positive. In addition to that, there is another 20,000 or 30,000 who are positive and not aware of it,” Sweeney says. “So the importance of testing is that once people know their status they change their risk behavior often in a way that reduces the number of people that they affect.”
Experts urge those that test positive to also get the care needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.