By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An FDA advisory panel yesterday afternoon unanimously recommended the approval of a new in-home HIV test. Local advocates are happy that another weapon will be available in the fight against HIV.
“This is yet another tool. This is not the entire answer,” says Kevin Burns, executive director of Action AIDS in Philadelphia. He says tens of thousands of Philadelphians are living with HIV and AIDS and many don’t know it.
“It’s estimated that roughly 25 percent of folks who are HIV-positive do not know their status, which is a place where this could have an impact,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
Burns says one of the problems with testing at facilities is that patients must answer embarrassing questions that attach a stigma to the test itself.
“If we really want to incorporate HIV testing into medical care, we need to stop asking people why they want to be tested,” he says.
OraSure Technologies, a Bethlehem, Pa.-based company that created the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, says it is unclear when it will be on the shelf or how much it will cost.