HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal panel's recommendation this week to broaden HIV testing to include nearly all persons 15 to 64 years of age is an important health care development that could result in a significant decrease in the spread of HIV and AIDS, Home Access Health Corporation, the leading manufacturer of at-home laboratory services, said today.
On Monday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group operating within the Department of Health and Human Services, issued draft guidelines that call for widespread HIV testing as a means to reduce the incidence of AIDS.
"The Preventive Services Task Force's recommendations are an important step forward to combat the spread of AIDS," said Mary Vogt, President of Home Access Health Corporation. "Too many Americans are simply unaware they are carrying the HIV virus. Knowing their HIV status is critical and broader testing is the answer."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 50,000 new HIV infections will occur in the United States this year. An estimated 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV, but about 20 percent – or 240,000 people – are unaware they have the infection.
"Our experience tells us that many at-risk individuals avoid screening due to concerns about the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. These individuals want the accuracy of a lab test, while maintaining the confidentiality and anonymity of at-home results. Increased testing can lead to earlier medical treatment and prevent the transmission of infection," Vogt said. "It's vital for consumers to have the best opportunity for accurate, complete HIV testing and we applaud the Task Force's recommendations."
Home Access Health Corporation manufactures a test that provides an option for anonymous HIV testing. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, the Home Access® Express HIV-1 Test System provides users with confirmed results in a single business day.
The Express HIV-1 Test System is greater than 99.9 percent accurate, and detects HIV-1 by using a fingerstick blood sample collected by the user. The sample is sent overnight to a certified testing laboratory using FDA-approved assays. Preliminary positive results are confirmed and results are available by telephone the next business day using an anonymous 1-800 number. Users of the test have immediate access to degreed and bilingual social workers who offer results, counseling and medical referrals.
Home Access cautioned the public that individuals taking HIV tests should be aware there is a period of time – the "window" period –during which individuals who are positive will still test negative. Blood-based HIV tests have a shorter window period than oral fluid tests. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the "window" period can range from 4-6 weeks up to 6 months. Persons who believe they have been exposed to HIV should have repeat testing.
The Home Access® Express HIV-1 Test System is available at major pharmacies including Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid, as well as online at Drugstore.com and at www.homeaccess.com.
For information on the at-home HIV test market, visit HIVHomeTestFacts.com today.
About Home Access Health Corporation
Home Access Health Corporation (HAHC) was founded in 1993 to provide anonymous, direct-to-consumer laboratory test services using self-collected fingerstick blood. Individuals collect, package and send a small fingerstick blood specimen to the Company's CAP-accredited laboratory, using components provided in the Home Access test kits. HAHC received FDA approval for its HIV-1 Test System in 1996 and immediately launched a national consumer awareness campaign.
In 1998, responding to the U.S. Surgeon General's order for public health departments (and other healthcare entities) to combat Hepatitis C (HCV), the company adapted its HIV platform and fast-tracked clinical trials and regulatory filings, resulting in an FDA approval for Home Access® Hepatitis C Check test service in 1999. HAHC markets its HCV test primarily through public health departments.
In 2007, the Company received FDA clearance for its complete Cholesterol Panel, a comprehensive laboratory test system that uses self-collected fingerstick blood to measure total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, Triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol. The accuracy levels of the Cholesterol Panel achieve the standards established by the National Cholesterol Education Program and the test method has been certified by the CDC-sponsored National Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network.
The Home Access FDA-approved test system for HIV-1, Hepatitis C and Cholesterol are sold directly to consumers without the need for physician intervention.
(http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/hivtestkit012908.html). These tests are anonymous, include confirmatory testing, and access to the HAHC counseling center for results delivery, counseling, and referrals.
To learn more about Home Access Health® Express HIV-1 Test System, call 1-800-HIV-Test.
SOURCE Home Access Health Corporation