First Over the Counter Home HIV Test Green Lighted by the FDA - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

First Over the Counter Home HIV Test Green Lighted by the FDA

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The FDA has given the green light to the first over-the-counter HIV test that allows people to test themselves and get results at home.

It is called OraQuick and it's as simple as a quick mouth swab and a twenty-minute wait, no more complicated than a home-pregnancy test.

"It's a very big deal, because it puts complete privacy in the hands of everyone to be able to get HIV test at home with no inconvenience whatsoever," said Dr. Richard D'Aquilla of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

More than a million people in the United States are believed to be infected with HIV and it's estimated one in five don't know it.

Experts say accurate testing is the principal reason new HIV cases are holding steady at about fifty-thousand a year.

"This really puts the power to stop the HIV epidemic in the hands of every one of us," said Dr. D'Aquilla.

The test is about ninety-two percent accurate, meaning about one of every twelve people with HIV might get a false negative result and a false sense of security.

Home tests have been available since 1996  and most have involved blood tests that have to be mailed off to the lab.

Activists are hailing a new way to detect HIV yet worry what happens after someone tests positive.

But in the absence of a cure it's a giant leap toward preventing the spread of HIV.

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