Today an FDA advisory panel will discuss the first FDA over-the-counter HIV test that consumers can use in the comfort of their own home, and learn whether they have the virus in twenty minutes. Rapid HIV testing has been available in medical clinics for years.
Studies show the Oraquick in-home HIV test can correctly diagnose the illness in 93-percent of patients. There are some concerns that number is too low, and missing seven percent of positive patients can have major repercussions. Some experts are also concerned people who learn they have the virus will not seek medical care. Supporters of the test say it will likely increase the number of people screened for the virus, which should lead to fewer people spreading the illness.
Dr. Peter Leone said, "We've got to try something different. Ten years into the epidemic in the United States, the numbers have been the same in terms of 50,000 new infections a year, this is an opportunity to push the envelope and see if we can make a dent in the number of newly infected individuals in the US."
The FDA usually follows the recommendation of its advisory panel. There are more than 200,000 Americans infected with HIV who don't know they have the virus.
Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.