The first at-home HIV test has now officially been given the green light by the FDA. The test was recommended for approval by an FDA advisory panel in May.
With a simple mouth swab, the OraQuick test from Orasure allows users to to test themselves for HIV and have the results within 20 to 40 minutes. And the cost is reasonable: Estimates put it at about $60. The test is highly sensitive and specific, but not perfect: False positives show up about 1 percent of the time, while false negatives occur about 8 percent of the time.
As we noted in an earlier Dispatch, we here at ACSH support this effort, given that about one-fifth of the 1.2 million HIV-positive Americans are unaware of their status. Now, instead of having to schedule an appointment and wait up to a week to find out the results of an HIV blood test, individuals can check their status both quickly and privately.