A U.S. district court in Seattle on Thursday granted a request from the Federal Trade Commission to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the U.S. sales of a defective home HIV antibody test kit. Two British Columbia, Canada-based Web sites sell the kits, called Discreet Home HIV Test. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the kits are wildly inaccurate, and frequently produce false-positive or false-negative results--15.4% of the tests were shown to be inaccurate after eight minutes of mixing a blood sample with a diagnostic solution, while nearly 60% were inaccurate after 15 minutes. The marketer of the kits, which are sold on the Web sites www.aidshivtest.com and www.discreettestcom, says they are more than 99% accurate, but offered no proof of studies confirming their effectiveness. The FTC will seek a permanent ban on sales and advertising of the kits in the United States and a permanent order to seize any of the tests shipped to U.S. consumers. Anyone who has used one of the tests since they were made available in June 2001 is urged to be retested. It is believed tens of thousands of the kits were shipped to U.S. consumers during the past three years.
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