Authorities in the U.S. are considering the approval of the first rapid home testing kit for HIV.
In a style very much like over-the-counter pregnancy tests, a single control line indicates a negative result, meaning signs of infection with the virus have not been detected.
Two lines means infection has been found and the person is positive for HIV.
It means an individual will be able to tell within 20 minutes whether they have the infection or not, in the privacy of their own home.
Although some HIV charities welcome wider use of home testing, many have expressed fears that people who find out in this way may kill themselves.
They believe testing should be supervised and counselling provided on a face to face basis.
In the UK home HIV testing kits are banned for such reasons, but unapproved kits are available over the internet, and experts advise caution in this respect.
The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration has already approved one other home HIV test, but this requires the individual to send off a dried blood spot on special paper, from a finger prick, to a lab to be analysed.
A free telephone number is then called, and a confidential and anonymous personal identification number is used to get the result and receive post-test counselling.
The new OraQuick test, which is now sold only to U.S. doctors and clinics, gives an instant result in the home after 20 minutes using a mouth swab.