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HIV self-test proves accurate

Study in an ER shows individuals successfully determined their own HIV status

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9:26am, November 2, 2009

PHILADELPHIA — Using basic written instructions and a standard testing kit, people can self-administer an HIV test with a degree of accuracy equal to what health-care workers achieve, according to a new study presented October 31 at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore offered people in the emergency room of an urban hospital the option of testing themselves for HIV while they were waiting. The 402 people who agreed to do a test were given a self-explanatory test kit that required either a pin-prick or a mouth swab. The participant then put a blood or saliva sample into a tube, and in 20 minutes the kit rendered a verdict of positive or negative for HIV.

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