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Home Tests
Nov 26, 1996

Hi Rick, My questions is, are the home HIV tests as accurate as tests done in clinics? Also are tests done by health departments as good as tests done by a doctor? Thanks!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

For more information about home testing, including the accuracy of the test, go to the "home testing" question dated October 21, 1996.

In regard to testing done in health departments vs. testing done in doctors offices, they are the exact same tests, and the specimens are often tested in the exact same labs. So there is no difference in the test itself in regard to going to the doctors office vs. a health department. However, there are 3 differences between going to the health department and the doctors office.

Health departments are usually substantially cheaper.

Doctors offices will often give test results over the phone, whereas many health departments will not do this for confidentiality reasons (you really don't know who you're really talking to over the phone, since you can't see them).

Sometimes insurance companies may be able to get test results through a doctors office's medical records. Insurance companies usually do NOT have access to medical records at the health department. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS



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