HIV Testing

Getting Tested

The CDC recommends anyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least one in their lifetime. Individuals with more risk factors should be tested more often. Knowing your HIV status early allows you to start receiving treatment early.

Types of HIV tests

There are three types of HIV tests available: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic tests. HIV testing is typically done with blood, oral fluid, or urine. Depending on the test taken, you can have your results within or 30 minutes or up to several days.

Understanding Your Test Results

It is important to understand your HIV test results. A negative test result does not necessarily mean you do not have HIV. This is because there is a window period for HIV tests. According to the CDC, a window period is the time between HIV exposure and when a test can detect HIV in the body. The window period varies based on HIV test used. If your HIV test is negative after a potential exposure, be sure to get tested again after the window period.

Sharing Your Test Result

HIV tests can be anonymous (only you will know the test result) or confidential (only you will know the test result). HIV status should be shared with your sex or needle sharing partners. Disclosing your status to others is your decision.

Know the Facts!

  • Everyone aged 13-64 should be tested once in their lifetime!
  • There are three types of HIV tests: nucleic acid tests (NAT), antigen/antibody tests, and antibody tests, and they all have different window periods!
  • Tests can be done by taking blood from your vein, finger prick or with oral fluid. 
  • HIV screening is covered by health insurance without a copay. If you don’t have health insurance, some testing sites, health centers, or local health departments may offer free tests.
  • A negative result doesn’t mean that you don’t have HIV due to the window period — the time between HIV exposure and when a test can detect HIV in your body. If you receive a negative test result, you should get tested again after the window period.