Rapid HIV Testing Should be Available Only at Selected Facilities, Editorial Says
The FDA should maintain the policy that rapid HIV tests be given only in certain laboratories in order to prevent the new tests from becoming "too casual," a Bakersfield Californian editorial states. Although current HIV tests may take up to two weeks to provide results, two new rapid HIV tests, which can provide results in 20 minutes, are "on the verge of approval," the editorial states. The editorial says that the rapid testing kits represent a "huge leap forward in testing" because a shorter gap between testing and diagnosis will reduce the risk that a patient will lose contact with a physician after being tested. However, allowing people to self-administer the tests at home may be detrimental because it also has the potential to sever contact between doctor and patient, the editorial states. The editorial notes that people being tested for HIV should receive instruction regarding HIV prevention and safe sex practices and that allowing the tests to be administered by trained personnel will help maintain such "control measures" as contact tracing and partner notification. "It would be a horrible step if the potential for progress - achieved by fast, accurate, easy testing - destroys invaluable public health and safety protection," the editorial concludes (Bakersfield Californian, 10/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.