Prior to 1996, there was no way to have a test for HIV performed except by going to the doctor and having one performed. However for a number of reasons such as confidentiality concerns and so on, one may prefer the option of an HIV home test rather than have to go to a doctor to obtain conformation of being HIV positive or negative.
If one would like to have the option of getting tested by way of an HIV home test, one should know the following –
- As of now, the FDA has approved only one HIV home test kit, this is known as the “The Home Access HIV-1 Test System” or “The Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System” is manufactured by Home Access Health Corporation. All others that are sold online and otherwise are not FDA approved, a fact that one should be aware of. Buying other HIV home tests that are non approved could mean lesser accountability and efficacy and this also means that a person does not have the benefit of post test counseling that are built into the FDA approved home testing system.
- The HIV home test consists of items that facilitate collection of specimens, instructions and material for how to obtain the specimen and mail it to the laboratory for analysis and it also includes pre testing and post testing counseling for the person.
- One is required to perform a tip of the finger pin prick to obtain a blood sample which is then transferred to special paper – this dried blood is then mailed to the laboratory for analysis. This HIV home test uses the same basic procedure as a regular doctor’s office test; only here the option of confidentiality is also available. This procedure can be done anonymously or otherwise as the person may prefer. If one wants to remain anonymous, they can call up the lab to get their results without divulging identify.
- As for the reliability of HIV home test kits, they are as reliable as conventional HIV testing, since the specimen samples undergo the same testing by trained technicians in a lab.
- The FDA approved HIV home test also incorporates counseling for the person requiring testing – in the form of phone counseling as well as printed material. One is made aware of treatment options as well as prevention of transmission and also doctor referrals if found to be positive.