QUESTION: Are Rapid Home HIV Tests A Good Idea?

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This week, OraQuick received approval from an FDA advisory committee to move forward with its In-Home HIV Test, an over-the-counter kit which would uses oral fluid from a swab of the gums to detect HIV antibodies.

Supporters praise the development

Are Rapid Home HIV Tests A Good Idea?

as a means to inform people who are afraid or unable to go to a clinic about their status. But critics say it could give users a false sense of security, as the test cannot detect newly acquired infections, and encourage people to view a negative result as a free pass to engage in unsafe sex.

Also of concern: Getting your results from a professional means at least someone is there to offer counseling and comfort immediately. Finding out you’re HIV+ while standing in your pajamas in the bathroom would be quite the shock and could lead users to react impulsively.

Do those concerns outweigh the 45,000 infections that otherwise would remain unknown and lead to HIV spreading to another 4,000 people each year?

There is no right or wrong answer—so tell us what you think in the comments!