ST JOHN’S, Antigua – While former AIDS clinical care co-ordinator Sir Prince Ramsey has given his unequivocal support to the recently approved over-the-counter HIV test, health care provider Dr Lester Simon has stressed the need for residents to be cautious.
Dr Simon, like many other health care professionals, is contributing to the ongoing debate over OraQuick home HIV test approved by the FDA last week.
Dr Simon said while the test is welcomed, there is lot of work, which needs to be done before it can be considered locally.
“The testing has to be confirmed by the patients going to a doctor or a health care professional to have the test confirmed,” Dr Simon said during an interview on OBSERVER AM.
“A very important condition that the FDA requested was for the company to set up a 24-hour hotline in both English and Spanish so that people could ask and get questions answered.”
Dr Simon also agrees that more people may take the test in the comfort of their own homes.
He, however, said the testing process is another discussion.
Dr Simon pointed out that testing is done at the AIDS Secretariat and other outlined stations using tool-particular kits.
“You sometimes have a varying between one kit and the other and you have to go to a tie-breaker, so the whole testing thing is not as simple,” he said.
“It opens up a whole new can of worms because it is still related to how we test the person and what happens after that test has shown a reaction that has to be supplemented by other tests.”
The OraQuick home HIV test is designed to return a result within 20 to 40 minutes.
The FDA, in its approval though, stressed that the test is not 100 per cent accurate.
The test is expected to hit the US market by October.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)