New At-Home HIV Test Is Smart But Frightening

OraQuickFor any woman, taking a pregnancy test on her own at home can be a bit nerve wracking. Can you imagine, though, taking an at-home HIV test? Welp, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first at-home test for HIV antibodies on Tuesday. You heard it right: finding out you're HIV positive could only take 20 minutes in the comfort of your own bathroom.

The test, called OraQuick, will be available in October at more than 30,000 retail locations across the U.S. as well as online. Oh, and get this -- it will be about 92 percent accurate.

Is it a good thing? I mean -- I think so. Actually, I know so. However, I can't even lie: it's also a little scary, am I right? The most interesting part? The FDA thought it was a pretty scary concept, too.


According to MSNBC, the FDA panel that approved OraQuick couldn't deny that learning of a serious diagnosis at home is extremely concerning. However, the panel also agreed unanimously that the benefits of the at-home test outweigh the risk. Touché, FDA. Touché.

So how's it work? Well the test uses swabs of saliva from the mouth of the user from the lower and upper gumline. With those swabs, the user is able to test on their own for the presence of the HIV antibodies. Naturally, they suggest that you head to the doctor as soon as you get a positive for additional, more reliable testing.

In a country where 1.2 million people are living with HIV, I really do believe that it was only a matter of time until something like OraQuick hit the market. Heck, I'm sure when at-home pregnancy tests first came out back in the 1970s, there was the same kind of concern. While I think that broadening the ways to get tested is a great idea -- I personally just can't imagine finding out a diagnosis like that on my own at home. Is it better coming from a doctor? When it comes to such a serious illness, I'm just not sure.

Watch this clip for more information on OraQuick:

What do you think of OraQuick? Would you take an at-home HIV test?


Image via OraQuick

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