Thursday, July 26, 2012

Home testing for HIV

Earlier this month (July 2012), the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first HIV test for home testing.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test will be sold over the counter and used without medical supervision. Other countries may follow suit. While the approval has been welcomed by many people, there are lots of questions about how it will be used and what it might mean in practice.
One of these questions was whether people would use the test to screen sexual partners. The findings of research into this were presented at AIDS 2012 on Tuesday, to great interest.
The study involved 27 HIV-negative MSM who had more than one partner. Of the people who were asked to take a test, 101 out of 124 agreed. Nine people were reported as testing positive, of whom five did not know their status already.
Few problems were reported with using the test, and the study concludes its use is highly acceptable amongst high-risk MSM.
Participants in the session raised other questions about the test’s use, such as the implications of the window period, and the test’s impact on levels of other safer sex practices – as well as how it might work in negotiations between men and women.

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