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The public will soon be able to take HIV tests in the comfort of their own homes. On Tuesday (July 3), the Federal Drug Administration approved home HIV tests, results of which will be determined  in 20-40 minutes. Last week, the Center for Disease Control announced the release of free home testing kits in 24 drug stores around the nation. The move is an attempt to remove the stigma behind getting tested, by making the kit easily accessible .

Made by OraSure Technologies, the tests have long been used by health care professionals, and include a cotton swab to be inserted inside of a patient’s mouth. However, to ensure accuracy, the FDA encourages consumers to confirm positive results with additional testing at  a health care facility. “Knowing your status is an important factor in the effort to prevent the spread of HIV,” said director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Dr. Karen Midthun.  “The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate.”

Taking a test at home may be convenient, but not necessarily the best idea. According to the FDA one false negative is to be expected out of every 5,000 tests taken.


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Photo: AP