OVER-THE-COUNTER HIV tests that are as easy to use as a pregnancy test and cost about $20 will be available in United States pharmacies from October.
The tests' approval for sale to over 17s has reignited debate about allowing rapid testing for the infection in Australia.
Legislation forbids testing for serious diseases at home and a spokeswoman from the Therapeutic Goods Administration said any application to sell the test in Australia would be denied.
But HIV advocacy groups say Australians are already buying the tests on the internet and are urging the federal government to review its position to help stop infection. Getting an infected person onto antiretroviral drugs can decrease the chance that they will transmit the virus by up to 96 per cent, so testing and treatment have become crucial to prevention.
General manager of the the AIDS Action Council of the ACT, Andrew Burry, said most transmissions occurred when someone was unaware they were infected.
''It was in the communities bests interest for testing rates to increase,'' Mr Burry said.
About 350 Canberrans are living with HIV. About 12 new infections are recorded each year and two-thirds of new infections are young men.
''There needs to be a discussion about rapid testing which is not available in Australia but is available in almost every other developed country and has been for almost a decade,'' Mr Burry said.
''It becomes a barrier to testing and the most vulnerable group are men who have sex with other men. We want gay men in particular to test regularly but we leave barriers in place for testing.''
Mr Burry said people were already buying the tests over the internet.
''The problem is that it's an unknown quantity, you don't know if that test meets a standard and you're not linked into any services and support,'' he said.