Q: I'm reading more and more about at home HIV tests, and wondered if they're reliable and also could be used as a means of screening potential sex partners?
A: UPDATED: There are currently two types of home HIV testing approved by the FDA: OraQuick and Home Access HIV-1.
OraQuick produces results in 20 to 40 minutes and is a saliva test that is 92% sensitive. This sensitivity percentage means that 8% of people who tested negative were actually HIV positive. This still highlights the importance of traditional confirmatory blood testing for all at home testing.
Home Access HIV-1, is a home blood test with ordering available by phone (800-448-8378) or online (www.homeaccess.com). This testing requires the patient to prick a small sample of blood, blot it on a paper strip, and mail the strip back for testing. Results are confidential, anonymous, and available by phone. The cost depends on the speed of requested handling (i.e. standard one-week versus next-day results). While a longer process to obtain results than OraQuick, the Home Access HIV-1 test is almost 100% in terms of its accuracy.