At-home HIV test to be available in October


by Dr. Art Mollen, Special to and Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Kaley O'Kelley

Posted on July 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 10 at 11:25 AM

Are you more likely to take an HIV test if you can do it in the privacy of your own home?

PHOENIX -- The recently approved over-the-counter HIV -- the first of its kind -- is slated to hit store shelves in October.

Previous tests required a blood sample and had to be sent in to a lab for processing.

Designed to detect HIV antibodies in saliva, the OraQuick test requires only a simple mouth swab. results are available in 20 to 40 minutes.

As good as the test is, the results are not definite, especially when exposure has been in the last three months.

In trials by Orasure, the manufacturer of the test, one in 5,000 tests returns a false positive while one in 12 returns a false negative. That means that in theory the test could miss one person for every 12 HIV-positive people who use the OraQuick test kit.

It's a good option for people who can't -- or won't -- get tested in a doctor's office.

"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," Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told The Associated Press when the FDA gave the OraQuick test its stamp of approval earlier this month.

Some 50,000 people in the U.S. are infected with HIV every year. Many of them don't even know it.

Doctors say it's important for people to know the symptoms associated with HIV infection.

  • Fever / sweats
  • Headache
  • Weakness / fatigue
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Skin rashes / lesions
  • Mouth / genital sores
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea / abdominal cramps

The OraQuick at-home HIV test will run about $60.

Dr. Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to