The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first over-the-counter HIV test, allowing Americans to check themselves for the virus that causes Aids in the privacy of their homes.
The OraQuick test detects the presence of HIV in saliva collected using a mouth swab. The test is designed to return a result within 20 to 40 minutes.
Government officials estimate one-fifth - or about 240,000 people - of the 1.2 million HIV carriers in the US are not aware they are infected. Testing is one of the chief means of slowing new infections, which have held steady at about 50,000 a year for two decades.
FDA officials said the test was aimed at people who might not otherwise get tested. The company's marketing efforts will focus on populations at greatest risk of being infected, including gay and bisexual men, African-Americans and Hispanics.
HIV awareness groups hailed the move as an important step in expanding testing for the virus.
"This test will allow anyone to empower themselves to know their HIV status when, how and with whom they want to," said Tom Donohue, founding director of Who's Positive.
HIV eventually develops into Aids unless treated with antiviral drugs. Aids causes the body's immune system to break down, leading to infections... Source/Origin >> Read More