ATLANTA (June 26, 2012)—The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced plans Tuesday to offer rapid HIV tests at drugstores in 24 cities and rural communities in a $1.2 million pilot program.
The test involves a swab of the inside of the mouth and the results are ready in about 20 minutes.
The CDC is already offering the free tests in seven drugstores and plans to expand to more locations this summer.
Health officials estimate that 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV, but as many as 20 percent of them don't know they carry the virus.
“We know that getting people tested, diagnosed and linked to care are critical steps in reducing new HIV infections,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.
“By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and also reduce the stigma associated with HIV.