Who should test?

CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once.

People with certain risk factors should get tested more often. You should get tested at least once a year (or even every 3 – 6 months) if:

  • You’re a man who has had sex with another man.

  • You’ve had anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV.

  • You’ve had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test.

  • You’ve shared needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment (for example, cookers).

  • You’ve exchanged sex for drugs or money.

  • You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted disease.

  • You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB).

  • You’ve had sex with someone who has done anything listed above or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know.

If you’re pregnant you should be tested for HIV early in pregnancy.

I think I’ve been exposed – what should I do?

If you’ve been exposed to HIV, or think you might have been exposed, visit a healthcare provider within 72 hours of exposure to discuss post exposure prophylactic treatment.

  • After one week of exposure to HIV you should get tested, or as directed by a health care provider.
  • With a rapid test (oral fluid or finger stick), you may be able to wait for the results.
  • With a lab test, it may take several days for your results to be available.

Different types of HIV tests:

  • Antibody tests can usually detect HIV 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests.

  • rapid antigen/antibody test done with blood from a finger stick can usually detect HIV 18 to 90 days after exposure.

  • An antigen/antibody lab test using blood from a vein can usually detect HIV 18 to 45 days after exposure.

  • nucleic acid test (NAT) can usually detect HIV 10 to 33 days after exposure.