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FDA Panel to Consider At-Home HIV Test
Date:5/15/2012

he oral test's overall accuracy is similar to that of a blood test, although it's slightly less accurate. The oral test, in particular, may miss HIV infection in its early stages, she said.

Also, "the sensitivity of the test appears lower when administered in the home setting rather than a medical setting, so some of the people who are HIV-positive will get a test result that they are negative," said Jane Rotheram-Borus, director of the Center for HIV Identification Prevention & Treatment Services at the University of California, Los Angeles. "However, if they would otherwise not have gotten the test at all, they may also have believed they were negative."

In addition to talking about its accuracy, the FDA panel may also examine the support that's available for people who learn at home, possibly alone, that they are probably infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

"The arguments against the at-home test focus on the absence of a counselor who could provide support and link the newly identified HIV-positive individual to medical care," said Rotheram-Borus, who supports over-the-counter sales of the OraQuick test.

She pointed out that "over-the-counter pregnancy tests are widely used, and pregnant women do find their way into prenatal care."

The company that makes the test says it will offer a 24-hour toll-free number that people can call to get support regarding their test results.

OraQuick has not determined the over-the-counter price of the test yet.

More information

For more on HIV and AIDS, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Nitika Pant Pai, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, medicine, McGill University, Montreal; Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Ph.D., Bat-Yaacov Professor of Child Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and director, Global Center for Children and Families, an
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