HIV tests and treatment
Getting tested for HIV empowers you to do what’s best for your health and the safety of people you care about.
You have the power to help stop the spread of HIV. A blood test makes all the difference.
|Learn more about the HIV virus on your About HIV page.|
Who should get tested for HIV?
HIV testing is not just for people who are sexually active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least one HIV screening for all people ages 13 to 64.
Find out how you can help raise HIV awareness on our Join the fight against HIV page.
|If you have been or will become sexually active:||If you’re a woman who is or might be pregnant:|
|It’s a good idea for you to know your status and the status of any new partner before beginning sexual activity. Continue with routine testing during and after each sexual relationship.||Get tested early on in your pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and have HIV, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent passing it on to your child.|
Take action. Get tested
Types of HIV tests
HIV can be diagnosed using a simple blood test.
HIV oral test:
Oral tests can be used to test for HIV;however, an HIV blood test is required to confirm the diagnosis.
HIV blood test:
Most HIV blood tests can look for HIV antibodies and HIV antigens. Fourth generation blood tests, offered by Quest Diagnostics, have improved accuracy and can detect HIV up to 20 days earlier than an oral test.
Since antigens are usually detectable before antibodies, the distinction between these two tests is important.
|Antibodies test (i.e., HIV rapid tests)||Antibodies and antigens test (i.e., some HIV blood tests)|
|Your body produces antibodies when it’s fighting something it views as a threat. If you test positive for HIV antibodies, it means you have HIV.||Antigens are parts of the virus itself. These tests are considered a more accurate way to find out if you have HIV, sooner.|
If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the last 3 days:
Immediately ask your doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Here’s the good news
Most people test negative for HIV.
Once you know for sure that your results are negative, your need to get future HIV testing is based on your lifestyle and risk factors.
People who test positive for HIV have hope.
Many people with HIV live long, fulfilling lives. Some don’t even feel sick. They visit their doctors for routine check-ups and take medicine to prevent HIV from turning into AIDS.
Quick facts about HIV treatment with
antiretroviral therapy (ART):
- This therapy is a combination of medicines used to treat HIV.
- It may help HIV-positive people live a longer, healthier life.
- It reduces the risk of passing the virus on to others.
- It works by reducing the amount of HIV in your body. – It does this by preventing HIV from multiplying. – Lower levels of HIV allow the body to better fight off infections and cancers.
- All HIV-positive people are recommended to take it to prevent progression to AIDS.
- HIV treatment is often referred to as an "HIV regimen."
When considering treatment options, your doctor will work with you to determine which HIV regimen is best for you.