State to send out free home HIV test kits

PHOENIX - After a pilot program this year, the Arizona Department of Health Services is preparing to send out home HIV testing kits across the state for free. 

"We have every single opportunity right now to end HIV in Arizona," said HIV Prevention Office Chief John Sapero. "It's simple to use, it only takes 20 minutes and it requires no blood." 

Sapero said 5,500 kits will be ready to ship by January. If those are claimed, they will find ways to offer more, he said.  

Around 500 people participated in the pilot program after clicking through an advertisement from AZDHS. Two new HIV cases were confirmed through the test and the program, planned to last six months, distributed all available kits in five weeks.   

The test uses saliva to provide an HIV indicator. Although it's not as accurate as a blood test, it can provide a first alert for someone questioning whether they have the infection, Sapero said. 

To qualify for the free OraQuick kit, you must not have received an HIV test in the past year. The kits can also be purchased at most drug stores for $30.  

Free clinical HIV testing is also available. To find a location, visit at http://hivaz.org

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