As part of our ongoing partnership with Pleasant St. Apothecary, the pharmacy owned by our parent organization AIDS Care, we bring you another blog from their staff. This week they will be discussing the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test. This blog was written by Chris Woodring, PharmD from the pharmacy.
The new OraQuick Advance HIV-1/2 is an over the counter oral swab HIV test kit and a new way to prevent the spread of HIV. It is a new do-it-yourself kit that gives results in twenty minutes. It comes with all the supplies you need and detailed directions to assist you in taking the test.
Q. How does the test work?
A. Using the provided pad attached to the tester, you swab your mouth in between your lips and your gums. It is important to swab both the top and bottom gums all the way around your mouth to get a good sample. After collecting a sample, place the end of the tester with the swab into a provided vial that contains a special solution. Let the test sit still for 20 minutes. The results appear as lines in window on the tester. These results cannot be read more than 40 minutes after the swab was placed into the special solution. Anything read after 40 minutes could not be accurate.
Q. Can I use this test right as soon as I think I may have been exposed to HIV?
A. No. This test uses antibodies to find out if you are HIV positive. Antibodies are produced by your body in response to bacteria and viruses in your body. It takes time for your body to make enough of these antibodies to be detectable to any test. This can take as long as 12 weeks. If you use this test too soon, you may get a false negative.
Q. What is a false negative?
A. This is when you get a negative test sample, but you do have HIV. There are many reasons you can get a false negative. One reason is if you have taken the test too soon (i.e. Within the window period aka within 90 days of when you have been exposed), so your body has not made enough antibodies for the test to detect. Another reason is if the test is used the wrong way. For example, if a sample was not collected the right way.
Q. What is a false positive?
A. This is when you get a positive test sample, but you do not have HIV. This can happen if the sample is contaminated or if something is wrong with the testing supplies. The directions for the test state that all positive test results should be followed up by a laboratory test performed at a clinic or your doctor.
Q. How much does the test cost?
A. Right now it is projected to cost less than $60. However this is still a lot more than getting yourself tested for free at many clinics around Rochester.
Q. What are my other options for getting tested?
A. Here at AIDS Care, there is free HIV testing provided to everyone. All AIDS Care services are confidential and they can immediately provide direction and support if you become HIV positive.
There are three options associated with AIDS Care that offer testing:
1) AIDS Care on 259 Monroe Ave does testing Monday thru Friday from 9am to 5pm and is available until 7pm on Tuesdays.
2) The Health Outreach Project at 416 Central Ave provides free testing Monday thru Friday 1pm to 4pm.
3) We also offer free HIV tests on our Outreach Van which you can find throught the city.
There is also free, confidential testing with the New York State Health Department. This clinic can be found on 111 Westfall Road, Rochester, NY 14692.
Disclaimer: If you have an urgent matter to discuss, this is not the forum to express it. Your provider or the pharmacy that dispenses these medications should handle urgent medical questions.
About Pleasant Street Apothecary:
A C Center, Inc. dba Pleasant Street Apothecary is conveniently located in downtown Rochester and features an open and welcoming environment with a cozy waiting area. Experienced pharmacists and technicians can assist with the management of complex medication regimens and third-party prescription plans including: Medicare, Medicaid with spend-downs and ADAP. The organization strives to employ both LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) and LGBT-friendly staff; and all employees participate in LGBT Core Competence training. Additionally, Pleasant Street Apothecary offers a wide range of HIV pharmaceuticals, a complete selection of non-HIV medications, high tech services, online ordering, and reliable, free delivery. This friendly, neighborhood pharmacy is also open six days a week.