Earvin “Magic” Johnson is the new face of OraQuick, the first FDA-approved over the counter HIV testing kit that allows individuals to test from the privacy of their homes.
“In the HIV and AIDS fight we needed an in-home kit because the stigma behind going to the doctor or to a HIV and AIDS clinic to get a shot sometimes for some people, and probably that’s millions of people, they just didn’t wanna do it… Now we are going to take away the fear of going to a doctor or clinic for them,” Johnson said about the new testing product.
Johnson added, “In our black and brown community, there’s always been excuses of why people won’t go to the doctor to get tested, now we are taking all that away from them.”
According to the Huffington Post, the FDA-approved testing kit produces results in 20 minutes and retails at pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, and online for approximately $40.
The test has been used by health care providers for just over a decade and uses a mouth swab to detect antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in oral fluid. And while it has been put through a battery of tests itself, the FDA cautioned that the test is not 100 percent accurate in identifying people with the virus.
The Huffington Post also reported that in a clinical trial conducted by test maker Orasure, OraQuick detected HIV in those carrying the virus only 92 percent of the time, but was 99.9 percent accurate in ruling out HIV in patients who are not carrying the disease.
However, Johnson still thinks the over-the-counter test will help turn the tide in curbing HIV and AIDS and, at the very least, get the conversation going again.
Speaking at a presentation for Orasure Technologies, Johnson, who announced that he was HIV-positive in 1991 has hailed the new product as a “game changer,” adding that kit would have taken away some of the suspense, however, early detection saved his life because he was able to immediately begin treatment.