July 5, 2012- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an over-the-counter, rapid HIV test. The test offers Americans a way to test themselves in private. The test is able to detect the presence of antibodies that have HIV by using a swab. The OraQuck test gives users results in between 20 and 40 minutes.
Government estimates are that close to 240,000 people, or about 20% of the nearly 1.2 million with HIV in the United States, are unaware they even are infected. Testing is a way to slow the number of new infections, which have been flat at approximately 50,000 each year for the last twenty years.
Officials from the FDA said the new test had been designed for those people who probably otherwise would never have been tested. The test’s over the counter availability provides another way for individuals to be tested so they can seek medical attention afterwards, if needed.
In October, the maker of the test, Orasure, plans to initiate sales both through retailers and online. Retailers that will carry the test include CVS, Walmart and Walgreens. A price has not been set as of yet, but the consumer version should not be higher than $60, but higher than the one health professionals will get, which is $17.50. The price difference is to help with costs at a call center that will provide medical referrals and counselling to test users.