Home Access Health Corporation, America's leading provider of at-home HIV tests, today recognized World Aids Day Saturday by urging individuals at risk for HIV infection to get tested.
"World AIDS Day is a reminder that testing saves lives, plain and simple," said Mary Vogt, president of Home Access Health Corp. "The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that everyone between the ages of 15 and 64 should know their HIV status, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to test in the complete privacy of your home."
"We know that for a variety of reasons not everyone has followed this nationally-recognized guidance, but early testing can lead to effective treatment, extending one's life and preventing the transmission of this terrible disease," she said.
Vogt said HIV infection and the prevention of AIDS can be managed, but persons engaged in risky behavior must first recognize they are vulnerable. The statistics are staggering, she added.
According to the CDC, 50,000 new HIV infections will occur in the United States this year. An estimated 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV, but 20 percent – or 240,000 people – are not aware they have the infection.
Among the most at-risk for infection are young people. According to a recent CDC Vital Signs report, 7 percent of those living with HIV are youth who are exposed after becoming sexually active or injecting drugs. The agency said 1 in 4 new HIV infections occur in people ages 13 to 24 and 4 in 5 among males. Nearly 60 percent occur among African Americans and 20 percent among Hispanics/Latinos and whites, respectively. Among youth, 60 percent with HIV do not know they are infected, increasing their health risks and transmission of infection.
HIV testing is readily available at clinics and pharmacies. For those concerned about confidentiality, at-home testing is a good resource, but Home Access Health believes any in-home testing be accurate and offer confirmed results quickly, Vogt said. The Home Access® Express HIV-1 Test System offers users anonymity, accuracy, confirmed results in a single business day, and high-quality counseling by trained professionals who direct users to qualified medical care.
The anonymous Home Access® Express HIV-1 test system, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996, is greater than 99.9 percent accurate, and detects HIV-1 by using a fingerstick blood sample collected by the user. The sample is sent overnight to a certified testing laboratory using FDA-approved assays. Preliminary positive results are confirmed and results are available by telephone the next business day using an anonymous 1-800 number. Users of the test have immediate access to degreed and bilingual social workers who offer results, counseling and medical referrals.
Home Access cautioned the public that individuals taking HIV tests should know there is a period of time when persons who are positive will test negative – the "window" period. The CDC estimates the "window" period can range from 4-6 weeks up to 6 months. Blood-based HIV tests have a shorter window period than oral fluid tests. Anyone who believes they have been exposed to HIV should have routine testing.
Home Access Health Corporation