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Maker of leading in-home HIV test encourages testing

In-home HIV tests should offer confirmed results, professional counseling and anonymity, says Home Access Health Corporation

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Nov. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Home Access Health Corporation, manufacturer of at-home laboratory test services, today said that individuals interested in obtaining an easy-to-use in-home HIV test that offers anonymity, confirmed results in a single day, and professional counseling should turn to its Home Access® Express HIV-1 Test System.

"In-home testing for HIV can inform persons at risk for HIV and AIDS about their health status and help reduce HIV transmission rates," said Mary Vogt, President of Home Access Health Corporation.  "We encourage testing, but believe strongly that any in-home testing provide the user with accurate, confirmed results quickly; as well as high-quality counseling by trained professionals that directs users to qualified medical care."

Increasingly, Vogt said, medical professionals and HIV activists, while recognizing the value of increased HIV testing, have raised concerns about the recently introduced over-the-counter rapid HIV test that relies on oral fluid rather than the more reliable fingerstick blood sample.  The drawbacks, they say, include lack of trained HIV counselors and medical care referrals, as well as inaccurate results that may lead people to believe erroneously that they are free of infection.

The concerns are legitimate, says Vogt, whose Home Access® Express HIV-1 Test System was approved for in-home use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996.  "Accurate results and professional counseling are a must.  Results offered without the benefit of counseling can be devastating,"

The anonymous Home Access® Express HIV-1 test system is greater than 99.9 percent accurate, and detects HIV-1 by using a fingerstick blood sample collected by the user. The sample is sent overnight to a certified testing laboratory using FDA-approved assays.  Preliminary positive results are confirmed and results are available by telephone the next business day using an anonymous 1-800 number.  Users of the test have immediate access to degreed and bilingual social workers who offer results, counseling and medical referrals.  

Home Access recently launched HIVhometestfacts.com, a website offering information about over-the-counter HIV tests currently on the market.  The website is designed to help the public understand the two at-home testing options, their rates of accuracy and their differences, Vogt said. HIVhometestfacts.com compares the in-home HIV tests, and provides questions and answers and additional resources on HIV/AIDS education and support. 

The Home Access® Express HIV-1 Test System is available at major pharmacies including Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid, as well as online at Drugstore.com and at www.homeaccess.com.

In-home HIV test users should be aware there is a period of time – the "window" period -- during which individuals who are positive will still test negative, Home Access Health said.  Blood-based HIV tests have a shorter window period than oral fluid tests.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the "window" period can range from 4-6 weeks to 6 months.  Persons who believe they have been exposed to HIV should have repeat testing.

For information on the in-home HIV test market, visit HIVhometestfacts.com today.

About Home Access Health Corporation

Home Access Health Corporation (HAHC) was founded in 1993 to provide anonymous, direct-to-consumer laboratory test services using self-collected fingerstick blood.  Individuals collect, package and send a small fingerstick blood specimen to the Company's CAP-accredited laboratory, using components provided in the Home Access test kits.  HAHC received FDA approval for its HIV-1 Test System in 1996 and immediately launched a national consumer awareness campaign.

In 1998, responding to the U.S. Surgeon General's order for public health departments (and other healthcare entities) to combat Hepatitis C (HCV), the company adapted its HIV platform and fast-tracked clinical trials and regulatory filings, resulting in an FDA approval for Home Access® Hepatitis C Check test service in 1999.  HAHC markets its HCV test primarily through public health departments.

In 2007, the Company received FDA clearance for its complete Cholesterol Panel, a comprehensive laboratory test system that uses self-collected fingerstick blood to measure total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, Triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol.  The accuracy levels of the Cholesterol Panel achieve the standards established by the National Cholesterol Education Program and the test method has been certified by the CDC-sponsored National Cholesterol Reference Method Laboratory Network.

The Home Access FDA-approved test system for HIV-1 and Hepatitis C are sold directly to consumers without the need for physician intervention. (http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/hivtestkit012908.html).  These tests are anonymous, include confirmatory testing, and access to the HAHC counseling center for results delivery, counseling, and referrals.

SOURCE Home Access Health Corporation

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