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Free distribution of pairs of HIV home test kits

May 28, 1997

Are there any programs anywhere distributing pairs of home HIV test kits for no charge? Would the cost for free distribution of kits be less than the cost of health care for those who have got infected with HIV?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Home tests are not available for free. The cost varies between US$30 to US$50. These tests are not free, since it costs money to pay for the manufacturing of these kits, as well as the costs of running the tests and shipping the tests in the mail. These kits are made by private companies, who must charge for the test in order to stay in business.

However, low cost (or even free) HIV testing is often available through your local health department, local AIDS Service Organizations, and other Community Based Organizations. Very often local governments subsidize the costs of testing at public testing sites; this is why testing is free (or low cost) at these places.

Some clinics charge by sliding scale (the less you can afford, the less you pay). The costs of testing varies from place to place, so it's a good idea to call ahead of time to determine the cost of the test. Therefore, if a person can't afford home tests, they still have the option of going to a low cost (or free) clinic in their local area. To find the address of a free or low cost clinic in your local area, call your local AIDS hotline, listed on The Body's Hotline page . If you're looking for a testing site in the USA, you can also e-mail me your location and I can refer you to a local testing site in your area. If you are outside the USA, call your local AIDS Hotline or AIDS Service Organization in your area (listings are sometimes found in your local phone book).

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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