Writing at Slate, Andy Carstens asks why there is a difference in the government’s response to Covid and the response to HIV:
On Jan. 18, the government launched a website enabling every U.S. household to order four free at-home kits … And, while the future of government COVID test funding is shaky, right now households can order another set of four free tests.
This is not how it worked with HIV, a virus that, like SARS-CoV-2, disproportionately affects marginalized communities and carries a ton of stigma. It’s been 10 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved home HIV tests (did you even know they existed?). About 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, yet around 150,000 don’t know it….
Free HIV tests would seem to pass a cost/benefit test:
Though cost is a hurdle to implementing a national home test program, the CDC estimates that average lifetime health care costs are $420,000 higher for people with HIV than for those without HIV. So, preventing additional infections would pay for a lot of $40 home tests.