Hey there Guys. Today’s news is that Magic Johnson has hit the news agencies to promote a home HIV test kit Orasure.
You can check out a video from Fox News here: Magic Johnson Partners With Orasure
While home HIV testing is a great idea, I have a number of concerns, in particular with the OraQuick product by OraSure.
As I mentioned in my article when OraQuick was approved by the FDA the OraSure product has one particular fatal flaw, it’s not accurate in a potentially dangerous way. While the OraQuick test is very accurate at detecting that somone has not been infected with the HIV virus, if a person is HIV positive there is a 1 in 13 chance that the infection will not be detected.
This sets up a dangerous situation that someone may be given a false result, a result that says they do not have HIV in their blood when they do. My fear is that this opens the door to potential infections with people potentially saying “look the test just said I’m negative, we can do without the condoms.”
The bottom line is that there is the potential that a negative test may be false. The only reliable answer from the OraQuick test is a positive result which brings me to my second major concern, what happens if a person gets a positive result.
HIV testing is serious. Here in Australia HIV testing is only supposed to be offered with appropriate counselling both before and after testing. Both positive and negative results need to be carefully explained. Home HIV testing removes this important element. Orasure are quick to mention that they have phone counselling however I have significant concerns about the quality of these calls and the ability of OraSure to ensure the test is delivered in a safe, sane and caring way.
While I congratulate Magic Johnson for helping increase the profile of HIV testing, I can’t recommend testing in this way. There are many fantastic services that offer rapid HIV testing, free of charge complete with the essential counselling. I honestly believe that this is a much safer way to have a HIV test.
Yours in good health,
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