Report fails to acknowledge problems with at-home HIV test

Published: January 19, 2013

In your World Report on the OraQuick home HIV test (Sept 22, p 1045),1 the potential implications of the new test on health insurance applications and lawsuits were not discussed. Insurance companies will often charge higher premiums or even refuse insurance for medical conditions such as HIV, and, if undeclared, such disorders will often invalidate claims against existing policies. This is one of the reasons why people choose not to take an HIV test, especially if they believe themselves likely to be positive. Unlike a laboratory test, the OraQuick test provides a means of testing for HIV with little ability to trace either the result or the fact the test has been taken. Subsequently one could expect to see insurance companies going to greater lengths to establish patients’ HIV status before providing insurance, potentially even demanding patients provide proof of their negative status before application. Likewise there is a risk many people might choose to take the test secretly to avoid potential litigation from sexual partners.

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