The FDA has approved a new blood test that should give Americans a very quick answer if they're curious about HIV infection. The new test requires only a finger prick to find HIV antibodies and the results come in less than an hour.
"One of the real advantages of this particular diagnostic test is its rapidity and rapid diagnosis is one of the most important tools that we have to have if we are going to win this battle against HIV-AIDS," says Murray Lumpkin of the FDA.
That's because health officials are hoping that with an estimated 200,000 Americans infected, the convenience of a quick test will encourage more people to be tested, allowing more positive cases to begin early treatment. But, remember a positive test does not mean the person has AIDS, but that there is some sign the virus might be present and that further testing is needed.
The new test is called the Oraquick Rapid HIV-1 antibody test, and it has an accuracy rate of 99.6%. The FDA says another benefit is the quick test could be used to help identify if a woman going into labor is HIV infected so that steps could be taken to block her baby from being infected during birth.
The Oraquick Rapid HIV-1 antibody test is manufactured by Orasure Technologies, Inc., in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For company information, you can (click here), or you can contact the FDA (click here), or you can call the FDA with this toll free number 1-888-INFO-FDA .