ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – It’s estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. live with HIV.
But one in seven of them are unaware they even have it.
Now, there’s an easier than ever way to find out if a person is HIV positive.
“It is an epidemic. I mean it is something that could threaten your life and your health,” said Rolando Rodriguez, who took a screening test for HIV.
The Insti test is simple and quick.
The process starts with a finger prick. A few drops of blood go into a solution and about 60 seconds later a patient knows if he’s infected with HIV.
“This is groundbreaking for us,” said Shirlene Manuel, a prevention and sexual health specialist.
Manuel has been testing for HIV since the 80s. It used to take weeks to get results. She thinks speeding up the process could slow down the spread of infection.
“It has made a difference in the amount of tests that we see come into the office now and the amount of testing that we are doing out in the community,” Manuel said.
The rapid result test is in line with the President’s HIV initiative to end the epidemic by 2030.
“If we can reach those people that are at high risk quicker, we can get that epidemic really down where it should be,” said Metro Inclusive Health CMO Brian Bailey.
Rodriguez’s test came back negative, giving him peace of mind.
Experts say one thing patients need to consider is that a very recent HIV infection might not be picked up by the Insti test because the body might not have produced enough detectable antibodies. Doctors suggest patients ask their health care providers if they should consider getting retested in three to six months.
Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Producer; Chris Tilly, Videographer; Ken Ashe, Editor.