CDC trying out free rapid AIDS test at drugstores

Only three or four customers have gone through with a test in the first few weeks.

“We get a lot of questions,” she said. “Usually they get the information and they go and sit on it and think about it.”

There’s a second Walgreens in Washington offering the test, as well as branches in Chicago and Lithonia, Ga. Other test sites: East Pines Pharmacy in Riverdale, Md., Mike’s Pharmacy in Oakland, Calif. and a federal Indian Health Service location in Billings, Mont.

Each location will get enough tests to check 200 to 300 people. Made by OraSure Technologies Inc., the $17.50 test is the only government-approved rapid HIV test that uses saliva. Other rapid tests on the market analyze a finger-prick blood sample.

Rapid tests are used routinely in doctor’s offices, hospitals and clinics.

The OraSure test can also use a blood sample but the CDC drugstore program will use a mouth swab, said company spokesman Ron Ticho. The stick-like testing device is used to wipe the inside of the mouth, then it is put in a solution. If two lines appear, that indicates a positive test.

The company is seeking government approval to sell it over-the-counter for home testing. A decision is expected later this year.

The test is sold in about 40 countries. Ticho said he is not aware of another country where pharmacies routinely offer the testing.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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