HIV Test at Home
Despite having a far better survival rate today than it did in the 80s, HIV is still a very scary thing which nobody wants to acquire. Unfortunately, a large part of the population doesn't undergo regular testing for the virus, which can make dating -- or discovering a partner's infidelity -- a pretty unsettling experience. Some don't get tested because they simply don't think, or worry, about getting infected. And then there are some who are afraid to get tested and have their insurance companies find out. Some don't want to sit in a clinic with lots of other nervous people. Understandable, all of these things, but none of them are an excuse for not being tested. If you can't cope with a trip to your doctor, for whatever reason, take your HIV test at home. Even the FDA discusses this option on their website, and yes, there is an FDA approved test available.
FDA Approved HIV Tests
Home Access Express HIV-1 Test
The only FDA approved HIV home test is called the Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System. It's called a system, because the results are not instant. You prick your finger, dab it on a special type of paper, send it to the lab, and then get your results by phone. Results, which, by the way, are guaranteed.
Other HIV Home Tests (Blood or Saliva)
There are other tests which claim to be instant and accurate. They involve pricking your finger, dabbing it onto special paper and then adding a reagent. Results are supposed to appear the way pregnancy results do with instant testing, taking 15 minutes or less to show up. There is also a test which goes through these same steps using saliva instead of blood. Again, these tests are not FDA approved and results are not guaranteed.
If you test positive, the FDA approved Home Access Express HIV-1 Test System will provide you with initial counseling by phone, but do make sure you obtain additional counseling as well. This is, perhaps, the only worrisome thing about getting results over the phone -- when you get your results at a clinic, someone is there to help you absorb the shock.
Home HIV Tests Offer Total Anonymity
All of these tests, whether FDA approved or not, are totally anonymous. If you test positive, your results may be reported to the department of health, but only the statistic itself; your name will not be used.
How much do home HIV tests cost?
The FDA approved test costs $60 for one HIV-1 testing kit, or a reduced $106 for two kits. Not bad, for a test that gives you next day results. If you went to doctor without having insurance, you'd pay more than this just to say hello to the receptionist. Other companies' HIV test kits vary greatly in prices; I have seen them for as much as $150.