A million Americans are now HIV positive, but a third of them don't know it. That's according to the FDA, which is now considering whether an oral HIV test should be sold over the counter. The Orasure quick response HIV test is the first in which a person can take the test and learn the results at home; in a matter of minutes, rather than sending it off to a lab. It's a lot like a home pregnancy test. One line means negative. Two lines, positive. Today, an FDA panel voiced concern about the danger of false positives and false negatives. Particularly among those who take the test and think they are safe, when they are not.
"There is a window between a few weeks from infection to a few months, up to six months, where the test can be negative but a person can be extremely infectious during that period of time," says Philippe Chiliade M.D. at Whitman Walker Clinic.
The saliva test has proven to be more than 99 percent accurate in finding HIV. Another concern today from the FDA,what happens when someone gets a positive result with no counselor on hand. No word yet, on when the FDA will make a decision.