|AFAID's Club Against AIDS in Mbalmayo, Cameroon|
People will now be able to find out whether they are HIV positive or not, right in the comfort of their houses; currently, there is a home testing kit also known as The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test available in the over-the-counter market. Consumers can purchase it for about $40.
This FDA-approved rapid diagnostic test can detect the presence of antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 in fluid collected from the user’s gums and cheeks. The availability of this testing kit through retailers and other online stores will impact the consumer in a positive and negative way. Obviously, it may damagingly influence some people who are tested negative by providing them with a premature sense of confidence that could lead to activities that put them at risk for HIV and other STDs infections. But as the FDA stressed, as stated by HealthPop report, the benefits of using this oral test device overshadow the negatives.
First of all the detection is crucial for prevention in a way that it helps slow the spread of the disease. In August, the journal of AIDS and Behavior has published a study, involving 27 gay men who frequently had sex with strangers without using condoms, which found that tis rapid self-testing undoubtedly prevented some infections.
Second, because it is pain-free, does not need needles and blood, and can be performed in the confidentiality of non-traditional testing environments, this test will attract more people to get screened and help patients who are tested positive to be connected to care as soon as possible.
Many people are, in fact, not aware of their HIV status and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that these unaware people cause a little more than two third of new infections each year and that 75 percent of the ones tested positive will change risky behaviors once they are aware of their status.
Furthermore, people will use this OraQuick In-Home HIV Test to screen their potential sexual partners, making this test more popular and leading HIV trends to the bottom. Some studies suggest that a considerable number of HIV-positive people keep their status secret most of the time; this allows them to continually infect unsuspected partners. About 2800 men and women from OraSure Technologies’ clinical trials also said they would use the test as HIV screening tool.
To perform this test, the user gently swipes the test swab on his or her cheeks and gums to collect an oral fluid called oral mucosal transudate, as this test does not use saliva. After that, (s) he inserts the swab into the tube that comes with the testing kit and wait for the result in less than 40 minutes.
This oral test works just like HIV Blood tests because the fluid collected is similar to the one use in blood testing. The test is done to detect HIV’s antibodies, not for the virus itself. The test is expected to have some weaknesses. In its approval announcement, the 17-member FDA panel stressed that the test is not as precise as a lab-administered one. It is practically 100 percent accurate when it shows that an individual does not have the virus that causes AIDS.
When it comes to the one who does, its accuracy is only about 93 percent. According to HealthPop, Rita Chappelle, a FDA spokesperson also highlighted the necessity of following step by step instructions for accurate result when testing at home. Chappelle also drew attention to the importance of following up with a medical setting confirmation despite the test high accuracy rate. For, some people can take up to six months to develop the level of antibodies associated with HIV that the test can detect; event though the majority of affected people reach that threshold within three months.
So being tested positive does not, in definitive, mean that person is infected with HIV, but rather that additional testing should be done in health care settings. A negative result when exposure has being within the previous three months also requires professional medical attention. Anyway, regular retesting is recommended for people who often engage in at-risk behavior.