Hi there. I just read over the documentation for the OraQuick test kit on their website, and the only mention of the phrase "panel member" is in reference to the "panel" of test subjects who participated in the testing of the device before it was approved by the FDA. According to what I read, the "panel members" were the people who they tested with the device - human beings. Some were HIV positive and some negative. They tested the device on both to see how accurate it is. Why would they put HIV positive plasma inside the test stick to do quality control? To test it, they would just dip the pad into liquid that had HIV in it and make sure it showed the correct results. Putting plasma inside the test stick does not make any sense at all. Where exactly did you get your information as to what a "panel member" is?
To answer your questions, no, there is no way you could become infected from an oral test kit. Even if there were somehow live HIV virus in the test stick at the time of manufacture, it would be dead long before you ever got the test in your hands. HIV is a fragile virus and does not survive for more than a few minutes outside of the human body. The testing stick and the packaging is not "airtight" in the way a syringe is. A syringe is designed to force liquid under pressure into the human body. The test stick is not.
Even if we were to take your story at face value and assume there was somehow liquid with HIV in it in the test stick, that it flowed down and got onto the pad and then onto your gums, it still would not result in an infection. HIV needs to get into your bloodstream in a significant amount to have a chance at causing an infection.
To give you some indication about how difficult it is to become infected by HIV, medical professionals who accidentally stick themselves with a bloody needle that has just been used on a known HIV-positive patient only become infected 0.3% of the time. 99.7% of the time, nothing happens. Hospitals keep accurate records of these events and personnel must report them for liability reasons, so the data is solid. Even if everything in your hypothesis were true (which it is not), the chances of becoming infected would be way, way lower than 0.3%.
Your anxiety is completely unfounded. It really sounds as if your OCD is making an extreme reach to come up with a reason why you should be worried about HIV infection. If something like this is causing you such extreme distress, you need to go see a therapist to get help getting your OCD under control. Reassurance is only going to go so far - you may feel better for a short while, but it is just a matter of time before the "yeah but what if..." part of your brain comes up with some other reason to fear HIV infection, to doubt what I have just told you or to come up with something else equally distressing.
And one other thing that occurred to me - if there was HIV positive plasma in the test stick, the test would have came out as positive. It didn't, did it?
Seek treatment for your OCD - you will be glad you did.
Thank you so much for your response! It helped a lot. Lately I feel that I only read things to fuel my anxiety. Here is the website where I read that there are panel members inside the test stick (read the nitrocellulose membrane part): http://www.oraquick.com/assets/base/oraquickfull/pdf/OraQuick_In-Home_HIV_Test_SDS.pdf
I found out what panel members are by researching them. They come in packages, in tubes filled with plasma. The majority of the plasma in the panel members is hiv+ with varying concentrations of hiv & with different hiv types. They also have hiv- plasma. They use these to control their tests and as you said, for quality control, they pretty much need to dip them in there? I believe?
I also do not know why they would need to place panel members inside the test stick, especially when they use synthetic peptides as antigens. I have spoken with them on the phone and they have told me that panel members are NOT part of the test stick device, but could not give me an answer as to WHY they are listed as part of it. So although it states that there is no live or active hiv in the test, I am wondering if there is "inactivated" hiv inside the test? I would feel very uncomfortable with any type of hiv in the test because you never know with human error if hiv is fully inactivated. There are some panel members with inactivaed hiv and they clearly state they can't claim the virus is 100% inactivated so to treat with caution. BUT, Oraquick is telling me there are NO panel members INSIDE the test stick. This has made me feel better but not fully because now I feel that the situation is confusing.
Onto my awful fear, you don't know how much I appreciate your reassurance but I do wonder how accurate it is. I want more than anything for you to be right. I do fear that somehow this virus from the panel members that are or aren't (so confusing) inside the test stick could have gotten down to the test pad right as I was swabbing my gums. I even have taken it as far as to fearing some evil person at the manufacturers could have purposely placed plasma on the test pad. Can you please further explain the whole hiv survival/airtight/enclosed space facts? What would make hiv not survive in this environment? I know that reassurance doesn't work with most but I feel that hearing scientific facts that tell me my fears are ocd helps me. Again, thank you so so much for your help. You made me able to take some calm breaths tonight!
Also, are you sure the test would come as positive? As it would have been there for awhile? Would the antibodies still remain active and able to show up? Not sure! The guy from Oraquick said the tests would have been invalid and one of the tests I took actually had some of the red background not fully dissappear, but clearly had a line at the control line- which says it worked but Idk, the fact that the background didn't fully clear may have meant the test was invalid? Not sure. This is why I retested after this test. Ahh!