Federal Panel Backs Easier Home Test for H.I.V.

From the New York Times & the A.P.:

A panel of experts on Tuesday recommended the approval of the first rapid, over-the-counter H.I.V.test, meaning Americans may soon be able to give themselves a simple test for the virus that causes AIDS.

The 17 members of the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel decided in a unanimous vote that the benefits of the OraQuick H.I.V. test outweigh its potential risks for consumers. The test, which uses a mouth swab to return a result in 20 minutes, does not appear to be as accurate as professionally administered diagnostics.

The F.D.A. will decide this year whether to approve the product.

OraSure, a company in Bethlehem, Pa., has sold a version of OraQuick to doctors since 2004. A trial conducted by the company showed that the home test detected H.I.V. in those carrying the virus 93 percent of the time.

The government has already approved other H.I.V. tests for home use, but they require a blood sample and must be sent to a laboratory.

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