US Food and Drugs Administration is planning to approve the first home based rapid HIV strip test kit. The result of the test will be available within 20 minutes of the test without any physician or clinician help. This new OraQuick test kit is now available only to doctors and clinics, which may go public after FDA approval. This is a strip test, in which a single control line indicates HIV negative and presence of two lines implies infection and the person is positive for HIV.
Benefits of The test Kit:
The main advantage is that the patient can test and know his HIV status independently and this can improve his confidence as the test result is known only to him and he can go for an earlier diagnosis and early treatment which can improve the survival rate of the HIV positive patient.
Disadvantages of the Kit:
Though the kit offers anonymity and the test results are rapid, there are chances of both false positive and false negative results. In false positive results, HIV negative patients may get a result of two lines and in false negative a positive patient may be diagnosed of HIV positive result. Though, the false results are very low these things have to be considered by the patients and should be clearly mentioned in the test leaflet. All positive test results and high risk patients with negative test results should be confirmed by western blotting or other confirmatory procedures.
Home Test kit concerns:
Many have expressed fears that people who find out in this way may kill themselves and hence testing should be supervised and counseled face to face. The test kit should contain a leaflet containing written information about counseling would be included with the test.
The US Food and Drugs Administration have already approved one other home HIV test. But, the test procedure is different in which the person should send a dried blood spot on a test paper to a lab to be analyzed for the result and the person could call a toll free number to know the results and the anonymity of the person is maintained by allotting a specific PIN number.
Lisa Power, head of policy at Terrence Higgins Trust said, "We're watching this with great interest and we are looking for a change in UK law to allow and regulate home testing for HIV, but we need a test which combines sensitivity and simplicity, as currently, many people in the UK buy illegal home test kits for HIV over the internet and these are often of low quality and can give false results."
A spokeswoman from Avert said, "If it goes ahead and increases the number of people being tested then that is a good thing but we have to be cautious. There has been great concern about the risk of suicide if people find out on their own without enough support and People need to be encouraged to see their doctor after to get a confirmatory test and also to get advice on how to proceed and what care they need throughout their illness."
Source: BBC News