Private Medical Insurance: Home HIV test gets approval in the United States
A home kit for HIV testing has won approval from health regulators in the United States and is expected to go on general sale within the next few months.
Called OraQuick, the systems analyses saliva from a mouth swab and give users an indication as to whether or not they have the condition in as little as 20 to 40 minutes.
Estimates from the US government suggest that there are 1.2 million people in the states which are HIV positive but 20 per cent of that number are not aware of it.
After approving distribution of OraSure, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it hopes the testing kit will help to reach people who would not otherwise go to a doctor or clinic to get tested.
No pricing details have yet been given for the product, which will sell online as well as in pharmacies and some homeware stores, but it is expected to be less than $60 (approx £38).
"This test will allow anyone to empower themselves to know their HIV status when, how and with whom they want to," Tom Donohue, founding director of Who's Positive, told the Associated Press.
Despite the obvious benefits of allowing such a product onto the mass market, the FDA did state that it might not be 100 per cent accurate and it is still advisable for people to see a medical professional if they have any concerns.
Dr Jonathan Mermin, director of the HIV unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added that anyone who gets a negative reading should still take the test again after three months because it can take a number of weeks for the antibodies associated with HIV to appear.
It has not yet been confirmed whether the product will be made available in the UK.