Test your HIV status at home

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 in Health and Fitness, Unstraight stuff
Test your HIV status at home

Knowing your HIV status is important – especially as a gay man – yet many people don’t get tested regularly. When I heard that the FDA had approved an at home HIV test (from Oraquick) I thought it was great news.

I decided to try it out to see how it worked, and whether it was as simple as I imagined. I picked up my kit in a CVS store the week it was released. It was the last one they had left – the shelf was empty, but they had one behind the counter – but I don’t know whether it’s because it was popular or because they didn’t order that many.

The Oraquick packaging and the content of the box

The Oraquick packaging and the box inside it.

The actual testing process was very simple. The package contains a plastic box with easy to follow step by step instructions. You use a test stick with a swab to swab your gums, put the stick in a container with a liquid and twenty minutes later you have a result.

The contents of the plastic box

The contents of the plastic box

One important thing to remember is that the test isn’t 100% effective. According to the booklet, there’s a 9% chance of a false negative (meaning that someone carrying the HIV virus gets a negative result), and there’s an very small chance of a false positive (meaning that someone not carrying the virus gets a positive result). Were I not in a monogamous, committed relationship I would use this test every third month and take one test a year at a clinic because of the risk of false negatives. However, I think this is a good way of minimising the stress of taking an HIV test at a clinic – if the Oraquick at home HIV test says you’re negative, there’s a 91% chance you are there’s over a 99% chance that you are (thanks to Reddit users Neurokeen and Soulcakeduck for point out my mistake with this number). And taking this test at home with a friend for support is most likely a lot easier for most people, thank going to a clinic.

The result of my Oraquick HIV test

The result of my Oraquick HIV test

Here’s a video of me taking the test:

The Oraquick at home HIV test costs $40 and is available in the US at pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid or from Oraquick’s web site.

  • sayd

    Wait so you mean the test 99% affective and not 91?