Privacy in Testing

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Just two days after FDA approval, Home Access Health Corp. has begun marketing a new home AIDS test. TIME science writer Christine Gorman notes that the home test was considered very carefully because of concerns that those who test positive need to receive adequate counseling about what to do. Users of the new tests, Home Access ($39.95) and Home Access Express ($49.95), must send a blood sample to a lab, then call a toll-free number with a private personal identification code to get the results. If the results are positive or inconclusive, a counselor gets on the line to refer people to a full-time counselor and discuss medical options. "The advantage of a home test is the sense of privacy which might encourage more people to get tested," says Gorman. "The hope is that the company providing the tests is as careful in maintaining the confidentiality of its records as medical labs serving doctors have been." -- Lamia Abu-Haidar