Getting tested has never been easier
June 27 marked the 18th annual National HIV Testing Day. To raise awareness of HIV and HIV testing, Dr. Rachael Ross, a nationally renowned sex therapist and author; and Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and actress Keri Hilson have partnered with OraQuick, the first over-the-counter, FDA-approved in-home oral HIV test.
OraQuick's test "allows people to know their status in the comfort of their own homes," said Ross, adding that she hopes that with the introduction of at-home HIV tests, getting tested will become as normal as putting on a seat belt or using condoms.
"The average person thinks that he/she doesn't have HIV but it's important to understand that HIV does not discriminate -- anyone who is sexually active has a possibility of having it," Ross said.
OraSure Technologies, the creators of OraQuick, recently conducted a survey that showed the problems with not knowing your HIV status.
"One-point-two million people are infected with HIV," said OraSure CEO Doug Michels. "Twenty to 25% of those people are unaware of their status, and are responsible for 50% of new infections."
Besides OraQuick, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter sale in July 2012, other ways of getting tested include going to a doctor's office or public health clinic for both blood and oral tests. Regardless of how you get tested, everyone should do it, Hilson said.
"Learning your HIV status early is critical in leading a healthy life," she said in a statement to amNewYork. "If you know, you can act -- to get the care you need or to stay safe."