Finally! FDA Approves Take-Home HIV Test


I was about 20 when HIV became a national issue instead of ‘just a gay one’. I’ll always remember my first HIV test, scary as hell. I was in Oregon at the time, and the county health office offered them for free, BUT the procedure was to

  1. Take the test, after an orientation about what HIV was and how it could be transmitted.
  2. Wait two weeks for results
  3. Return for results
  4. Go through an hour-long orientation about resources if you DO have HIV.
  5. Get results
  6. Cry with relief/shock/despair

That was just scary as hell to me. My sex ed consisted of a two hour block of biological slides when I was 10, plus assurances from my mom that sex wasn’t an evil thing. Thank gods for Planned Parenthood and all, but even they weren’t giving out free condoms during the first five years of my active sex life, so I had a lot to worry about.
Anyway, I’m just glad this is so much easier now. Even though it’s been over 20 years since this was an acknowledged, widespread concern, I believe there are still a ton of people who’d prefer to find out with privacy.

So…yay :slight_smile:

The medical community is LOATHE to release power, any kind of power.

The reasons against at home tests have always been non-sense, one I recall is that people would secretly test others samples or find out the results and anonymously commit suicide etc.

Isn’t there a mandatory reporting requirement in some parts of the US for positives?

I would highly doubt that. I remember that being a big concern, early on, but *seem *to remember it being assuaged by the medical confidentiality clause.

Seems you don’t have to report someone’s name on a anonymous test, but they can ask. In NY state at least:

Wow, I can see I was wrong.

I see this is a big problem. On the one hand, I understand flagging someone as infectious, but don’t understand not reporting anon statistics. Or for that matter, not reporting NON anon statitistics. There is so much to be learned from the pattern of medical issues that I’ve long-held the desire for a national, if not worldwide, database of anonymous statistics about EVERYthing medical. Someone having diabetes and a sudden rash may mean nothing, but 20 percent of people with diabetes having a sudden rash will mean something, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I retract what I said about the results being protected, as I can see it is not true.

Now I’m doubly glad for the test!

What do you mean “finally”? I have seen HIV “Express test” kits sold in pharmacies for years (they are pretty pricey though). Do those not work or something?

ETA: This is what I’m talking about.

I think the difference is this:

The at-home kit in the article gives results within 40 minutes, privately, no third-party required.

And apparantly it’s not 100 percent accurate, with a 1/5000 chance of someone getting a false positive, and a higher chance of a false negative, so…there’s always that risk, too.

Ah, I see.

Well, every lab test has a false positive/negative rate too… some of them a lot higher than that (though I think the HIV one is generally pretty accurate).

In Illinois, health care workers must report (PDF warning) a crapload of infectious diseases, HIV included. I assume similar regulations exist in other states.