Taking an HIV test in the privacy of your own home is a little closer to reality. The FDA approved the OraQuick testing kit July 3rd. OraQuick promises fast results after a thorough mouth swab that can detect HIV antibodies. Its a procedure similar to those given at clinics.
"Its essentially the same," Philadelphia Center's Brett Malone says. "The ones that we have are a little more sensitive." Malone says at his clinic HIV testing comes along with mandated counseling sessions about prevention, care and more.
"We have to have a counseling session with the person before we administer the test. then a counseling session upon giving the results of the test, which for us is a 20 minute process," Malone said. He says the most important aspect of the counseling is the support given to a person who has tested positive for HIV.
"What am I going to do? Am I going to die? That's the first thing a lot of people think of," Malone said. "You know, is this a death sentence? It doesn't have to be." Malone says while the at home test offers more ways to stop the disease it lacks that personal support you could get at a clinic.
"If you find out you are HIV positive and are infected, then its very important to immediately get linked up with both medical care as well as social support," Malone said.
Something else that worries Malone is a false positive, which such mouth swab tests can give. He says that's a stressing problem quickly solved at a clinic.
"Here, we have more tests, and we would do a secondary test or confirmatory test immediately," Malone said.
OraQuick will be sold in stores and online to those 17 and older. Reports say sales will start in October. Malone wanted to point out that it takes 3 months for HIV to become detectable in the body. He says no test will find the disease until that time is up.