NEW YORK — At-home and point-of-care diagnostics company OraSure Technologies said Tuesday it secured a federal contract for up to 1 million of its OraQuick In-Home HIV Tests over five years.
The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based firm said it was selected to provide the tests in support of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campaign to expand access to HIV testing. OraSure said the program will use mail-delivered HIV self-tests to address testing barriers such as stigma, privacy concerns, cost, and lack of access to HIV clinics. The firm also supplied tests for a pilot program.
The tests will be distributed through the CDC-supported self-testing project Together: Take Me Home, which launched in the spring of 2020 as an effort to encourage gay and bisexual men in the US to order free HIV self-tests to their home. The agency has supported and promoted the program through its Let's Stop HIV Together campaign, which itself is part of a broader US Department of Health and Human Services campaign, Ending the HIV Epidemic in the US, which launched in 2019 with a goal of reducing HIV infections by 90 percent by 2030.
Under the program the CDC will provide $41.5 million over five years for community testing. Emory University and partner organizations will manage the program and provide logistical and distribution services for the tests, OraSure said.
"Programs such as the Together: Take Me Home initiative show that the government can take an active role in making a difference against the major public health crises that we face as a country and to support marginalized populations," said Lisa Nibauer, president of diagnostics for OraSure. "We firmly believe that these programs reduce the spread of diseases that disproportionately affect marginalized communities and lower overall cost to the healthcare system by identifying patients early, connecting them to care, and allowing for successful interventions that lead to empowering lives informed by one's HIV status."
The firm said about 1.2 million people ages 13 and up have HIV, including about 160,000 without a diagnosis. Identifying those people and connecting them with care are goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative in the US.
CDC officials previously reported that sexually transmitted disease reports initially fell during the COVID-19 pandemic but quickly rose past previous totals. Weekly numbers of gonorrhea and syphilis infections rose from 2019 to 2020, and a decline in chlamydia was likely due to a decrease in screening when people were unable to visit healthcare clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.