Every year for the past ten years, approximately fifty thousand new HIV infections occur in the US. Safe sex and early detection saves lives and is the only way to prevent new infections from occurring each year. There is certain amount of shame that hangs over the HIV positive population to this day because of the misunderstanding of where it comes from and who it effects. Statics show that the vast majority of infected are homosexual males, and that most females that contract the virus get it from heterosexual intercourse. Less than one quarter of the infected male and female population is by intravenous drug use. Not only that, but a majority of infected individuals identify as mixed races and not as African American, Caucasian or Hispanic. HIV doesn’t discriminate, so why do we? The myths of who gets infected prevents thousands of people from practicing safe sex believing they are safe or place doubt in their mind keeping them from getting tested.
Oraquick is a company that provides an at home test for HIV by using a swab of saliva. Many are singing its praises. There are numerous benefits to HIV testing that can be done at home, but what are the down falls? The test can be purchased at most pharmacies for sixty dollars and provide results within forty to sixty minutes in the privacy of one's home. There is no need to send the kit back to a lab which has been the most popular method in at home HIV testing kits in the past. The test kit comes with step-by-step directions, oral swab test stick and tube with solution, booklets on HIV, and inserts on the test. The company offers a call support center open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions. What isn't to love?
It has an eight percent chance of a negative reading when someone is indeed positive for HIV. So is a ninety two percent accuracy rate enough? One out of every twelve HIV positive persons would be missed using this at home test. The test is designed to help those that might be uncomfortable seeing a doctor for testing by offering a test in the privacy of their own home. The test encourages a follow up test with their doctor if the test results read negative. How many of those people will be willing to make an appointment to be tested when their at home test has already come up negative? Would it encourage the person to continue with the habits that led them to believe they might be infected in the first place? So that leaves others asking, "What's the point?"
One in every five thousand are testing positive when they are actually HIV negative. This number makes the test phenomenal for those that are not actually HIV positive. OraQuick could prevent thousands of new infections each year but could for a number of those that test lead to a much later diagnoses. It is a question of responsibility on the individual and corporate level that must be considered.