Rapid HIV Testing May Be Coming To A Pharmacy Near You

Today is National HIV Testing Day, so its fitting we bring you news of a new initiative by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bring HIV testing programs to pharmacies and clinics across the country.

A two-year pilot program just launched in two dozen rural locations will hopefully be the launchpad for a wider campaign offering confidential, rapid HIV testing as part of the regular services provided by local pharmacies, like blood-pressure testing and flue shots.

“We know that getting people tested, diagnosed and linked to care are critical steps in reducing new HIV infections,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.  “By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and also reduce the stigma associated with HIV.”

It’s believed more than 200,000 HIV+ Americans—or 1 in 5 of all those infected—do not know they are carrying the virus. This pilot progra is part of CDC’s efforts to support its recommendation that all adults and adolescents should be tested at least once. Currently, less than half of all Americans have ever taken an HIV test.


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  • Tanqueray

    I’m sure a lack of access to HIV testing facilities is the problem >:\.

  • Jay

    In most pharmacies they already sell HIV test kits OTC but they’re not rapid testing kits or the saliva test but you give a blood sample, fed ex it into a lab with an envelope that comes with the kit, and then call 24 hours later to get your results.

  • Oh well

    @Jay, it’s more like 3 business days.

  • Victor

    Pointless. Same people who were scared to ask their doctor for a test or go to a clinic will be just as scared to go get it at CVS or Rite-Aid. Would love to know how/why they think convenience and location will lessen the fear and stigma attached to a poz result but not surprised at all that Mr. Fenton didn’t bother to elaborate.

  • jj

    @Victor: Just shut up. This will no doubt reduce the infection rates in america in the long term. Not everyone has access to a free clinic. For people who live in smaller towns and wouldnt feel comfortable asking their family doctor for an hiv test this will be great.

  • Nelson

    I get tested by my doctor or at an HIV/STD testing center. My friends who are HIV+ have told me how when they turned up poz they were glad they had someone to talk to about meds and what they should now do since they’re poz, and they didn’t just learn this alone or from a home test kit.

  • Oh well

    @Nelson, most people wouldn’t even be able to digest anything a counselor says right away after learning their status. For some people, it may not even be safe to be driving home right after getting this kind of news in a public place. Many people would prefer to first deal with the shock in the privacy and safety of their own home and then face the world once they have calmed down.

  • Tony

    @Oh well: Well, there are two ways to look at the issue of counseling: you can assume you know what you would want in a circumstance you’ve never been in, or you can listen to people who’ve actually been In that circumstance. I used to think I’d want to hear it alone too. I’m very glad I didnt.

  • Scribe37

    I really don’t give a fuck where people get their results, as long as they get them! I went to a doctor once and requested the test and he told me that I didn’t need one because I was str8! I did not correct him and ended up doing the blood test through the mail from rite aid. Eventually I found a very gay friendly doctor and I get tested every six months. Sometimes health care workers are assholes and if the rapid test helps in this matter I am for it. Either way it is a personal choice for the person getting tested and what they feel they are going to need. Just because you feel one way is better than the other doesn’t make it the best choice for Everyone :)

  • Scott

    How does knowing your HIV status help protect you or others? In other words, how many people change their behavior once they know the test result? Why wouldn’t a person change his behavior before getting infected? How does getting tested every 6 months help? That just seems like giving money to the labs. Shouldn’t you be practicing safe sex all the time anyway?

  • Making up stuff is fun!

    @Scott: It’s called meds, you nincompoop.

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