More on Getting Tested

Knowing your HIV status is a critical part of taking care of yourself and the only way to know for sure is to get tested. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our nation's public health agency, now recommends that everyone aged 13 and up get screened for HIV, like they do for many other conditions, when they go to see their doctor or a health care provider. The CDC also says that all HIV testing must be voluntary and you must know about it first. You can get an HIV test at many places in your community such as your doctor's office, a health clinic, an HIV clinic, some teen clinics, and places like Planned Parenthood, and some offer testing for free or very low cost. To find a testing center near you, click here.

There are also newer, "rapid tests" available today that make the whole process much faster. These rapid tests are available at many testing sites nationally, and you can get results in as little as 20 minutes. Some rapid tests require a finger prick, others a draw of blood from the arm. Some don't involve drawing blood at all and use oral fluids by swabbing the inside of your mouth.

The only way to know for sure if you have HIV or another STD is to get tested. Just because you do not see or feel anything doesn't mean you are STD free.