The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is an oral swab rapid test that checks for HIV antibodies. It’s the only rapid at-home HIV test currently approved by the
Approximately 13 percent of people who have HIV doesn’t know it. Thus, the virus is more likely to be passed on to someone else.
Testing is the only way to know your HIV status for sure. Learning your status is an important way to prevent transmission of HIV.
Many people are nervous about getting tested for HIV for reasons such as:
- lack of access to medical facilities
- anxiety about the results
- concerns about privacy
- not having the time to get tested
- misconceptions or misinformation about personal risk
At-home testing doesn’t eliminate the need to get professionally tested. But it can provide a reliable jumping-off point for learning more about your HIV status.
Read on to find out about the OraQuick test and its applications for HIV testing and protection.
- It’s the same test that many medical professionals use.
- When used correctly, the test has a 99.9 percent accuracy rate for negative results and a 91.7 percent accuracy rate for positive results.
- The test uses saliva instead of blood.
- Results are available in 20 to 40 minutes.
- Results are provided at home. You don’t have to send your sample back to a laboratory for testing.
- Results are confidential.
- A 24/7 helpline is available if you need help during testing. The number is 866-436-6527.
- The test ships in a brown, unmarked box to ensure privacy.
- You can also buy the test in selected stores.
- It’s relatively inexpensive.
- Follow-up confirmatory testing is needed.
- It tests for antibodies to HIV, not the virus itself.
- The test does not provide information about the likelihood of transmitting the virus or the stage of the condition.
- It may not provide accurate results if you have been exposed to the virus within 3 months prior to testing.
- It does not test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs) other than HIV.
- False positives and false negatives are possible.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is produced and manufactured by OraSure Technologies, a global diagnostics company based in Bethlehem, PA.
OraSure produces infectious disease diagnostic tests for professional and personal use. In fact, many tests run in hospitals and laboratories are manufactured by this company.
The OraQuick test is the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA. It tests for HIV antibodies.
An HIV antibody test can detect the cells that your immune system makes if you contract HIV. If you test positive for antibodies to HIV, it means you may have been exposed and could have the virus.
If you test negative, you likely do not have the virus. You could still have it if you were exposed within 3 months prior to taking the test or used the test incorrectly. That’s because it takes your body 3 months to build up detectable levels of antibodies after exposure.
It’s still important to see a medical professional
False negatives and false positives are possible. As such, follow-up testing with a medical professional is necessary to confirm your results.
Before the test
- Do not eat, drink, brush your teeth, or use mouthwash or other oral care products for 30 minutes before taking the test.
- Remove any dental products like dentures from your mouth before testing.
- Check your test’s expiration date and make sure the package has not been tampered with.
- Carefully read all directions, which are found within the box.
- Have a timer handy.
Taking the test
- Once you open the box, pull out the bottom drawer.
- Remove the test tube packet from the bottom drawer. The tube contains liquid.
- When you remove the top from the test tube, be careful not to spill any liquid. If you do, the test will not provide accurate results.
- If there’s no liquid in the tube upon opening, the test is defective and should be returned.
- Place the test tube in the holder compartment.
- Remove the packet labeled “test stick.” Remove the test stick without touching the pad at the tip of the stick.
- Use the pad to swipe your upper gums once only and your lower gums once only.
- Place the stick, pad side down, into the test tube with the test window facing you. The test window will turn pink temporarily.
- Close the flap over the test window.
- Your kit contains a pencil. Use it to write down the time you placed the stick into the test tube.
After the test
- Your results will be ready after 20 minutes.
- Once 20 minutes have passed, open the flap that covers the test window to read your results.
- You can read your results from 20 to 40 minutes after taking the test. After that, the results will no longer be accurate.
Reading the results
One red line next to the C and no line next to the T means your test is negative. You likely don’t have HIV.
One red line next to the C and a line of any color next to the T means your test is positive. You may have HIV.
If no lines appear, the test did not work.
OraQuick provides test results in the privacy of your own home within 20 minutes of testing. You don’t need to send your kit off to a lab for analysis.
Even though the test is highly accurate when used correctly, false positives and false negatives are possible.
If you had an at-risk event within 3 months before testing, your body may not have had enough time to build up a discernible antibody level.
Human error and test error can also occur. For example, if the test is exposed to high heat, it may produce inaccurate results.
If you get a positive result, take a deep breath.
Make an appointment to see a healthcare professional for confirmation testing. You may not have HIV.
If you do, a healthcare professional will guide you toward the next steps and treatments. Living a full and long life with HIV is not only possible — it’s also likely, provided you begin treatment early.
If your activities put you at risk of HIV, take a test often, even if you consistently get negative results.
Tests for other STIs such as herpes, syphilis, or gonorrhea, can help you rule out other infections, get treated sooner, and stay healthy regardless of your HIV status.
Practice prevention methods when you can that lower your risk and your partner’s risk of STIs.
The cost of the test varies slightly from retailer to retailer. One-time test kits cost around $35 to $40. There’s typically no discount for buying in bulk.
According to the
You can buy OraQuick online in packs of one to six single-use kits through the manufacturer or sites like Amazon. You can also purchase the tests in person from stores like Target, CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens.
Do not buy open or used OraQuick test kits. Also, don’t make your purchase from websites that aren’t reputable or reliable.
The vast majority of test users give OraQuick high marks for accuracy and efficiency.
Some users find the test hard to use. Inconclusive results that require retesting are also mentioned in a small body of reviews.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the use of the test, consult a healthcare worker for professional testing.
Although at-home tests are convenient, they should not take the place of a doctor’s care.
Visiting a doctor is essential if you get a positive result. It’s also important to visit your doctor if you test negative but had an at-risk event within 3 months before taking the test.
The test doesn’t provide personalized suggestions for follow-up care or treatment. Meanwhile, your doctor can help you navigate which next steps make sense for you. They’re also able to test for other STIs and STDs.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is a safe, private, and effective way to find out if you may have HIV.
The test provides highly accurate results — provided you use it correctly and have not had an at-risk event within 3 months before taking the test.
No matter what result you get from the test, visit your doctor for follow-up confirmation testing and further guidance.
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