The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy. This section answers some of the most common questions related to HIV testing, including the types of tests available, where to get one, and what to expect when you get tested.
- You should get retested if you have had anal or vaginal sex without a condom, or if you have shared injection drug equipment with someone who has HIV.
- The CDC suggests retesting because of the “window period.” This is the length of time between exposure to HIV and when HIV shows up on a test. This can take up to three months. So if your test result is negative, protect yourself and get retested after three months.
- Retesting can help you feel more confident about your health.
- CDC.gov is a great source of information on the spread of HIV, its symptoms, and treatment solutions. The website also has a search tool to help you find convenient testing near you.
- The federal government manages a site, HIV.gov, that discusses ways to end the HIV epidemic and includes a listing of HIV awareness days.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website with a focus on AIDS treatment solutions, including clinical trials and FDA approved drugs.
- Pregnant women who test positive for HIV can find reliable information on managing the virus during pregnancy and delivery at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.
- Let’s Stop HIV Together is a CDC Social Marketing Campaign that raises awareness about HIV and its impact on the lives of all Americans, and fights stigma by showing that persons with HIV are real people — mothers, fathers, friends, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, partners, wives, husbands, and co-workers.
- Transforming Health is a CDC campaign to help health care providers reduce new HIV infections among transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, and improve the health of transgender people who are living with HIV.