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CDC trying out free rapid AIDS test at drugstores

Would you go to a drugstore for an AIDS test?

Health officials want to know, and they've set up a pilot program to find out.

The $1.2 million project will offer free rapid HIV tests at pharmacies and in-store clinics in 24 cities and rural communities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

Officials are hoping testing for the AIDS virus will become a routine service at drugstores like blood pressure checks and flu shots.

"By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and reduce the stigma associated with HIV," CDC's Dr. Kevin Fenton said in a statement. He oversees the agency's HIV prevention programs.

The tests are already available at seven places, and the CDC will soon pick 17 more locations.

The HIV test is a swab inside the mouth and takes about 20 minutes for a preliminary result. The test maker says it's correct 99 percent of the time. If the test is positive, customers will be referred to a local health department or other health-care providers for a lab blood test to confirm the results, counseling and treatment.
 
 

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