Earvin “Magic” Johnson has endorsed the new over-the- counter HIV home-testing kit, OraQuick, aimed at people who might not otherwise get tested.
With the Food and Drug Administration approved test, Americans will be able to use a mouth swab and get results in 20 minutes. OraQuick will be available at pharmacies and online for $40.
The FDA cautioned that the test is not 100 percent accurate in identifying people with the virus, but is 99.9 percent accurate in ruling it out in patients not carrying the disease, according to The Huffington Post.
“In the HIV and AIDS fight we needed an in-home kit, because the stigma behind going to the doctor or to a HIV and AIDS clinic to get a shot sometimes for some people, and probably that’s millions of people, they just didn’t want to do it,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “Now we are going to take away the fear of going to a doctor or clinic for them.”
“In our black and brown community, there have always been excuses of why people won’t go to the doctor to get tested, now we are taking all that away from them,” he said.
Government officials estimated that approximately 240,000 of the 1.2 million HIV carriers in the U.S. are not aware of their infection. With testing, medical experts hope the amount of infections will slowly decline. Approximately 50,000 new infections per year were detected over the past two decades.
“The availability of a home-use HIV test kit provides another option for individuals to get tested so that they can seek medical care, if appropriate,” Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told the AP.
The FDA has approved several HIV test kits designed to be used at home. The kits, which require a blood sample, must be sent to a laboratory to be developed.