Molecular Testing Labs in Vancouver and Kathy Ireland Worldwide have collaborated to offer affordable at-home HIV testing kits this week.
The kits will be sold for $25 through Friday in support of World AIDS Day 2018, which was Saturday. More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. have HIV, and one out of seven people don’t know they have it. HIV attacks cells in the body’s immune system, the natural defense against illness. AIDS is a set of symptoms caused by advanced HIV infection.
The kits can be delivered directly to your home in a discreet package. According to Molecular Lab’s website, the test is a “self-administered dry blood spot card with simple-to-follow instructions.” Dr. Charles Sailey, the medical director for the laboratory at Molecular, said these are the best at-home tests on the market, and can detect infection within five to seven days of exposure. Sailey added they’re close to 100 percent accurate.
“We are able to do testing that is as accurate as testing they would get at a hospital or clinic,” Sailey said.
There are instructions included with the test, and a provided envelope that can be used to mail the specimen back to the lab. The results can be viewed through a secure, HIPAA-compliant portal. Molecular can also help people find the proper physician if they have questions about their results.
Sailey said he couldn’t know what the kit would cost after Friday, since Molecular generally offers HIV testing as part of larger panel testing, but he did say that they were under the cost to the laboratory.
Sailey explained that at-home testing for sexually transmitted diseases and infections is “starting to take off,” but not to the level that genetic testing is. Sailey said that STD and STI testing has more scrutiny involved — for example, Molecular has two layers of accreditation.
Sailey said the rise in cases of syphilis and gonorrhea has somewhat tampered the conversation around HIV and AIDS, but he said that HIV is still very prevalent. Sailey also noted that HIV is treatable but incurable, while syphilis and gonorrhea can be cured. This week’s sale of testing kits is way to promote awareness and let people know that frequent testing is important.
“We’re doing this just to promote public health. To get (the test kits) out there,” Sailey said. “To get it in the hands of people who do want testing, who may not be able to afford expensive tests, but who want the best test.”