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Surprising Science

First Home HIV Test Kit is Approved By FDA

Recently, the FDA approved a home HIV testing kit to purchase over-the-counter.

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

The FDA recently approved the first do-it-yourself HIV test, allowing people to test in the privacy of their own home. The test, which is named OraQuick, will detect the presence of HIV through a mouth swab. The results will be ready anywhere between 20-40 minutes. According to government officials, about 240,000 people have the HIV virus and do not know. The home kit is another option for individuals to get tested who might not otherwise, and they can seek medical attention if necessary. The test is not 100% accurate, and based on a trial by Orasure—“the home test only correctly detected HIV in those carrying the virus 92% of the time.” That means one person out of twelve people infected with the virus may go undetected. On the other hand, “the test was 99% accurate in ruling out HIV in patients not carrying the virus.” So, one patient out of 5,000 might be incorrectly identified as having the HIV virus.

What’s the Big Idea?

A new HIV Home testing kit has been approved by the FDA. It is geared towards people who do not usually go to get tested. Normally, only medical personnel administer the HIV test by taking a blood sample, which must be sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. The home kit will only require a mouth swab, and people will get the results within 40 minutes. However, it is not 100% accurate, so a follow up test with a doctor may be necessary to confirm the results.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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