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U.S. News

HIV Self-Test Raises Questions

August 22, 2012

The OraQuick rapid HIV test soon will be available over-the-counter, and health professionals are discussing its potential impact.

Joan Duggan, a physician at the University of Toledo Medical Center, said, "This test is a two-edged sword. It's a great thing to have available, but we have to be careful. There's a huge potential for misuse." She added, however, "If we want to end this epidemic, people need to know their HIV status and use the appropriate measures to stop transmission." According to CDC, about one in five infected people do not realize they have HIV.

Jerry Kerr, HIV prevention coordinator for the Lucas County Department of Health, explained that some people do not want to talk about the risks they have been taking or "don't want it written down anywhere they even went for an HIV test." Although health privacy laws protect patients, some people fear that insurance companies or employers could obtain their test results.

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