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|[Video] OraQuick home HIV tests now available|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|October 05, 2012 15:22|
For those wanting to learn their HIV status in the comfort of their own homes, the FDA-approved OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is now available online and next week will be available in 30,000 retail stores across the U.S.
The OraQuick test now available over the counter is the same test physicians and other trained professionals have been using that includes taking a swab from the inner mouth and testing it for HIV with results known in about 20 minutes. The test was approved by the FDA on July 3.
Stores that OraQuick will be available in include CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, RiteAid, and Walmart. Online, the kit costs $39.99.
Worries by some activists over the new at-home tests include the fact that if someone does receive a positive test, there is no counselor there to comfort and talk to the person and could even lead to suicide. However, OraQuick provides a 24-hour hotline available 365 days a year within the testing equipment for those wanting to talk to someone.
Supporters of the test argue that being able to take the test at home eases pressure on people who may not choose to go to a doctor or an HIV agency and sit in a waiting room for an HIV test. And by making HIV tests more readily available to people, there is the hope that infection rates will lower while also eliminating stigma surrounding HIV.
Research shows that an HIV-positive person in treatment and on antiretroviral drugs is 96 percent less likely to transmit the disease to another person.
According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there are approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. that have HIV and approximately 240,000 of them are unaware of their status. People not aware of their status likely are responsible for the 50,000 new HIV infections that occur each year in the U.S.
Gay and bisexual men continue to account for the rising number of new HIV infections. The CDC reports that while gay and bisexual men represent 2 percent of the U.S. population, they account "for more than half of both new HIV infections each year and Americans living with HIV. Since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 350,000 gay and bisexual men with AIDS have died, and more than 8,000 still die each year."
For African American gay and bisexual men, the numbers are dire.
An Emory study presented this year at the International Conference on AIDS showed that black men who have sex with men contracted HIV at a rate of 2.3 percent per year, or nearly 50 percent higher than white men who have sex with men. The study was conducted in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
A how-to video on conducting the new OraQuick home test at home is below:
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