The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved the world’s first do-it-yourself HIV test. The OraQuick test which detects the presence of HIV in saliva, collected using a mouth swab, will be available over the counter and would allow Americans to diagnose themselves with the STI in the privacy of their own homes. The test releases a result in 20 to 40 minutes.
Doctors are saying the introduction of a self-administered test will ultimately help stem the spread of HIV, as the sooner an infected person gets onto antiretroviral drugs, the less likely they are to spread the disease to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 20 per cent of HIV-positive Americans do not know they have the disease. In the U.S., 1.2 million people have HIV, and 50,000 are infected each year.
The self-administered test is seen as a big step in the fight to make HIV testings anonymous. In the past, many have been deterred from seeking medical help due to the strong social stigma that has historically been attached to the disease.