FDA approves over-the-counter HIV test
By Tenisha Dixon, News 20 at Five
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV. Now the first diagnostic test for this disease is carried in drug stores like Walgreens and CVS. The Food and Drug Administration approved kit that can be purchased over-the-counter. Pat Smith, a Tallahassee resident, thinks the kit is not a bad idea.
“I feel it’s good that they’re making it over-the-counter to purchase now instead of reporting to a hospital and linking up with a whole bunch of people whom you have no idea of their background,” said Smith. “So I think it’s a good idea.”
The FDA says the kit is not meant to replace medical testing. The oral swab test gives results in 20 minutes with no lower than a 91 percent accuracy rate. According to Medical News Today, the consumer should get tested in a medical setting to confirm their results. Walgreens customer Courtney Banks doesn’t feel fully confident in this new product.
“You still have to go to a facility to get tested, so I don’t know if it’s really accurate or not,” she said. “So I still feel that a facility is more accurate than an in-home test.”
The original kit, OraSure, was tested this past summer. Ora-Quick is more accurate. It comes with a test stick and tube, disposal bag and package insert. However, it does not take blood, semen, or vaginal fluid.
Although the test is only 99 percent accurate, Ora-Quick is used in health clinics, doctors’ offices and hospitals. The test looks for antibodies that are fighting the virus. The test is only affective three months after the event. People who are pregnant can use the test anytime.
The kit is easily accessible and results can be tracked via phone. Many people may want to use this product for confidentiality reasons or convenience of privacy. The only hassle is making sure to visit a medical clinic for a second opinion. There is a hotline contact on the side of the box for consumers who have any questions or concerns about using the product.