Tests for HIV Can Be Inaccurate, FTC Warns
youve tested yourself at home for HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus
that causes AIDS you may want to do it again. According to the Federal Trade
Commission, some home-use test kits can give users false information about their HIV
The FTC recently tested HIV kits advertised
and sold on the Internet for self diagnosis at home. In every case, the kits showed a
negative result when used on a known HIV-positive sample that is, when they should
have shown a positive result. Using one of these kits could give a person who might be
infected with HIV the false impression that he or she is not infected.
Although Internet ads for these home-use kits
may say they are for sale outside the U.S. only, consumers in the U.S. have been able to
purchase these kits. Some ads state or imply that the kits have been approved by the World
Health Organization (WHO) or a similarly well-known health organization, or that the
home-use test kits have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
WHO does not approve or license HIV test
kits. The FDA has not approved any home-use HIV test kit for sale in the U.S. However, the
FDA has approved one HIV home collection test system for sale in the U.S. the Home
Access Express HIV-1 Test System. Manufactured by Home Access Health Corporation, this
home system allows consumers to collect the sample in the privacy of their home, then
requires that the sample be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Safe, reliable HIV testing can be done only
through a medical professional or a clinic, or through use of the Home Access Express
HIV-1 Test System, says the FTC.
For more information about HIV home-use test
kits, please visit the FDA website.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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