Collecting a blood sample at home to be sent to the laboratory for HIV testing may seem a little unusual. However, it could be one solution to help diagnose the 250,000 American’s that are HIV positive but are not aware that they are infected.
Recent data released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that only 40.4% of U.S. adults aged 18-64 years reported being tested for HIV infection at least one time. The data was analyzed from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) which was conducted during 2006. In September 2006 the CDC recommended that HIV testing be a part of regular medical care for all individuals aged 13-64 years.
“In agreement with the CDC more organizations are recommending routine HIV testing but in reality the numbers of people being tested are not increasing,” said Michael Craycraft R.Ph., President of Home Health Screening, “One factor may be the increasing numbers of uninsured and under-insured individuals. These individuals just are not seeing the health care professionals so that they can be tested. However, more likely is the unfortunate stigma that still surrounds HIV. People are just not willing to go get tested and many health care professionals are not bringing the issue up during visits. The main reasons we started featuring the Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System is so that no matter how often someone sees their health care professional or how hesitant they are to get tested they can order a kit to test for HIV at anytime in the privacy of their own home.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the home HIV testing kit in 1996. However, according to the NHIS data of those that reported they were tested for HIV in the last 12 months only 4.6% used the home HIV test. In January 2008, the CDC release a consumer update on HIV Home Test Kits. The report reiterates that only one product has been approved for home testing and that it is marketed as either the “Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System” or “Home Access HIV-1 Test System.” These systems require users to collect a few drops of blood, and then mail it to a laboratory for certified laboratory testing.
“In the past the FDA had issued warnings about unapproved home HIV tests that were being sold in the United States and this may have caused consumers to question their value,” said Mr. Craycraft, “However, the FDA cracked down on these distributors and reassured the public of the safety and accuracy of the one FDA-approved home HIV testing system. The public needs to start relying on these tests to protect their health. Plus, the tests are completely anonymous to help those that may still have a stigma about being tested at their doctors office or in a clinic”