Americans will soon be able to find out whether they are HIV positive at home, after an over-the-counter test was approved by the Food and Drug Agency. The test is only available to people aged 17 and above, so ID may be needed to buy one.
The OraQuick test, by OraSure Technologies, uses a mouth swab to detect antibodies in saliva, which a human body produces about three months after being infected with HIV. It produces results in 20 to 40 minutes. Over-the-counter tests previously available in the US required mailing a blood sample to a laboratory.
The test is about 92 per cent accurate in detecting people who do have the virus and 99.98 percent accurate in detecting those who don’t, according to company trials. This means the test would produce a false negative for about one person in 5,000 and a false positive for one person in 12. Naturally, positive tests would require further confirmation by medics, who attain a higher accuracy of diagnosis.