- Where Can You Get Tested for HIV?
- How Do I Find HIV Testing Sites Near Me?
- HIV Testing
- Different Types of HIV Tests
- Testing Locations
- When to Get Tested
- Additional Resources
- More Information
- How do I know if I have HIV?
- How do HIV tests work?
- What kind of HIV tests are there?
- Where can I go for HIV testing?
- More questions from patients:
- Planned Parenthood to offer free HIV testing Week June 23-27
- Free HIV Testing Clinics
- INFORMATION ABOUT CAROLINAS CARE PARTNERSHIP
Where Can You Get Tested for HIV?
You can get an HIV test at many places:
- Your health care provider’s office
- Health clinics or community health centers
- STD or sexual health clinics
- Your local health department
- Family planning clinics
- VA medical centers
- Substance abuse prevention or treatment programs
Many pharmacies and some community-based organizations also offer HIV testing.
HIV testing is covered by health insurance without a co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have health insurance, some testing sites may offer free tests.
These places can connect you to HIV care and treatment if you test positive or can discuss the best HIV prevention options for you if you test negative.
You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
How Do I Find HIV Testing Sites Near Me?
Find an HIV test site near you by using the HIV.gov HIV services locator:
You can also find a testing site near you by:
- calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636),
- visiting gettested.cdc.gov, or
- texting your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948).
An HIV test is the only way to know if you or a partner has HIV. Free or low-cost tests are available for anyone 12 and older at NYC Sexual Health Clinics, regardless of immigration status. You do not need to have consent from a parent or guardian to get tested.
Getting tested and knowing your HIV status is the first step toward taking care of your health.
- If you test negative, you can learn about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and other HIV prevention options.
- If you test positive, you should meet with a health care provider and start HIV medications right away. Getting and staying on treatment keeps you healthy and prevents transmission to your sex partners. In New York City, HIV treatment is available, regardless of your immigration status or whether you have insurance.
Different Types of HIV Tests
- Standard laboratory blood tests are very accurate and provide results within a few days.
- Finger-stick blood tests provide results in 20 minutes or less.
- Oral swab tests do not require giving blood and provide results in 20 minutes.
- Home test kits are available for purchase — they use an oral swab and allow you to test yourself in private.
The time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can tell for sure whether they have HIV is called the window period. The window period varies from person to person and depends on the type of test used to detect HIV.
Recent HIV infections can result in symptoms that may seem similar to cold or flu symptoms, such as fever, rash and sore throat. If you are experiencing these symptoms after a possible HIV exposure, be sure to tell your health care provider you are concerned you have an HIV infection, not just a cold or flu.
You can find free or low-cost HIV testing locations near you by:
- Visiting an NYC Sexual Health Clinic, where anyone 12 or older can get a confidential, anonymous test
- Searching the NYC Health Map
- Texting “TESTNYC” to 877-877
- Calling 311
You can also purchase a kit to test yourself at home (PDF).
When to Get Tested
You should ask your medical provider how often you should get tested for HIV.
Generally, if you are having sex or using street or injectable drugs, you should get tested at least once a year. People in the the following groups should be tested every three to six months:
- Men and transgender people who have sex with men
- People who have a sex partner with HIV
- People who use PrEP
If you think you were exposed to HIV, start taking emergency post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) immediately. PEP can stop a new HIV infection if you start taking it within 72 hours of exposure. To get started on PEP right away, go to a clinic or emergency room, or call the 24/7 NYC PEP Hotline at 844-3-PEPNYC (844-373-7692).
If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period for that type of test to be sure. If your health care provider uses a test performed by a laboratory on blood from a vein, you should get tested again 45 days after your most recent exposure. For other tests, you should get tested again at least 90 days after your most recent exposure.
An HIV infection takes a few days to become established. Ten days after exposure, go to a clinic or hospital and ask for a test for new (“acute”) HIV infection. These types of tests are available to eligible patients at NYC Sexual Health Clinics.
While you wait for your test results, avoid having sex. During an acute infection, people have a very high level of virus in their bodies and can easily pass HIV to others.
- HIV Main Page
- New York Knows: NYC Initiative to Promote HIV Testing
- HIV Testing: Information for Providers
In This Section
- HIV & AIDS
- What are the symptoms of HIV & AIDS?
- Should I get tested for HIV?
- How do I get treated for HIV?
- How do I prevent HIV?
- Living with HIV
- What is PrEP?
- What is PEP?
Getting tested is the only way to find out if you have HIV. HIV tests are recommended for all adults. HIV tests are quick, painless, and sometimes free.
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Want to get tested for HIV?
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How do I know if I have HIV?
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You can’t tell if you have HIV just by the way you feel, because most people who get HIV don’t have any symptoms for years.
Testing is a good idea if you’ve had unprotected sex or if your partner tests positive for HIV. You should also get tested if you’ve shared needles with anybody (for shooting drugs, piercings, or tattoos). If you’re pregnant, get tested for HIV at your first prenatal visit.
Luckily, HIV testing is pretty easy and painless. The best part about getting tested for HIV? Once you get it over with, it can really put your mind at ease. And if you DO have HIV, it’s best to find out right away so you can take medicines to help you stay healthy and lower your chances of spreading HIV to others.
How do HIV tests work?
When you get HIV, your immune system makes antibodies that try to fight off the infection. The most common type of HIV test looks for these antibodies in your blood or cells from your cheek.
It usually takes about 3 months for your body to make enough antibodies to show up on an HIV test, but it could be even longer. This time after you first get infected but won’t test positive for HIV is called the “window period.” If you get tested during this time, you can get a negative result even if you do actually have HIV. You also have the biggest chance of giving HIV to other people during the window period.
What kind of HIV tests are there?
Rapid HIV tests give you results in about 20 minutes. Other tests take longer because they need to be sent out to a lab. HIV tests are usually painless — you just gently rub the inside of your cheek with a soft swab. Sometimes you’ll give a blood sample for testing.
You can test yourself for HIV using an at-home HIV testing kit. With the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, you swab your gums and test the sample yourself. You get results in 20 minutes. With the Home Access HIV-1 Test, you prick your finger to get a small amount of blood. You mail your blood sample to a lab, and get your results in about a week. At-home tests are totally anonymous — you’re the only person who will know the results. And both types of tests help connect you with counselors who can give you support and advice about treatment if you test positive.
If a rapid HIV test at a clinic or a home test shows that you have HIV, get a follow-up test to make sure the results are correct.
Where can I go for HIV testing?
You can get tested for HIV and other STDs at your doctor’s office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center. You might want to get your HIV test at a place that also has HIV counseling (like Planned Parenthood).
You can either get an “anonymous” or “confidential” HIV test, depending on the laws in the state that you live in. “Confidential” testing means your name is on the test, and the results go in your medical records. Your doctors and insurance company may also see the results. If you test positive, your results are sent to your local health department so they know the rates of HIV in your area. But your results are protected by privacy laws, so nobody else can see them without your permission.
“Anonymous” testing means your name isn’t on the test. You’ll get an ID number that you’ll use to find out your results. Your results won’t go in your medical records, and they won’t be sent to your insurance company or the health department — you’re the only one who will know them.
STD testing, including HIV testing, isn’t usually automatically part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam — you have to ask for it directly. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out what tests are best for you. Don’t be embarrassed: your doctor is there to help, not to judge. (And if your doctor does judge you for asking for an HIV test, maybe it’s time to find a new one.)
The idea of getting tested may seem scary, but try not to freak out. STD testing is part of being responsible and taking care of your health. HIV tests are quick and usually painless. And if you do have HIV, it’s better to know as soon as possible so you can start treatment.
More questions from patients:
Where can I get free HIV testing?
Lots of places! Your local health department may offer free testing, or if you’re a student, your college or university health center may have free HIV testing. Low and no-cost tests are often available from Planned Parenthood health centers and many doctor’s offices, hospitals, and health clinics. Some organizations even set up mobile testing trailers in different cities around the US.
One benefit to visiting a doctor or nurse, like the staff at your nearest Planned Parenthood health center, is being able to talk with someone face-to-face and ask questions about your results.
Keep your eyes open for free testing in your area, do some searching online, or call your nearest Planned Parenthood health center to find out where you can get free HIV testing.
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WHAT KIND OF HIV TEST IS RIGHT FOR ME?
HIV tests are very accurate at detecting HIV, but every HIV test has a window period. The window period is the time between exposure to HIV and when a test can detect HIV. AHF offers three types of HIV tests:
- Rapid HIV test: A rapid HIV test is a fingerstick blood test that gives results in less than a minute. Rapid HIV tests are sometimes called antibody tests because it looks for antibodies in your blood. Antibodies are produced by your immune system when you’re exposed to HIV.
- Combination HIV test: A combination HIV test is a blood test that gives results in less than a week. A combination test is sometimes called a fourth-generation test. It looks for both HIV antibodies and antigens. Antigens are foreign substances that cause your immune system to activate. An HIV antigen called p24 and is produced even before antibodies develop.
- Nucleic acid test (NAT): A nucleic acid test is a blood test that gives results in less than a week. A nucleic acid test is sometimes called a viral load test. This test is used to confirm an HIV infection. It is not routinely used unless an individual has a positive rapid HIV test or positive combination HIV test.
Talk to an AHF testing counselor about which HIV test is right for you.
By Dr. Donna Burkett, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)
World AIDS Day is Thursday, December 1st and is a time to unite in the fight against HIV and support people living with HIV. HIV/AIDS continues to be an urgent human rights and public health crisis, impacting millions in the U.S. and around the world. This, despite the fact that when it comes to ending the epidemic, we know what works: access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health care and rights; combating stigma, discrimination, and policy barriers that restrict the ability of all people to access lifesaving information and services; and focusing on the needs of marginalized communities, including women and girls. It’s also a time to make your health a priority by getting an HIV test.
That’s why on World AIDS Day, Planned Parenthood is doubling down on our commitment to remain at the frontlines of fighting HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and globally. I’m pleased to share that your local Planned Parenthood is making HIV testing even simpler: We’re now offering “Insti,” the fastest HIV test on the market that produces results in one-minute. Not only is the test quicker, it’s more accurate than previous tests with a 99.9% accuracy score. PPNNE is the only health care provider in Vermont or New Hampshire currently offering this test.
When it comes to HIV, we know that gay, bisexual and men who have sex with other men are disproportionately affected. They only account for about 2% of the population, but are 55% of people living with HIV in the U.S. People who inject drugs and/or share needles are also at a greater risk of contracting HIV. With these factors in mind, last year PPNNE began offering PrEP — Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a daily medicine that greatly reduces the chances of contracting HIV for high-risk populations. According to the CDC, “Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.” Every month, PPNNE counsels numerous at-risk patients about PrEP and nPEP, which treats patients with a very recent exposure.
Planned Parenthood is always thinking about ways to make your sexual and reproductive health care experience simpler. Whether that’s offering the newest birth control methods, the fastest HIV test on the market, or the most effective medicine to fight HIV, we are on the cutting edge of providing high-quality, supportive care. So don’t wait, make an appointment at PPNNE to get tested. Book online at www.ppnne.org or call 1-866-476-1321.
Remains committed to addressing dual epidemics of HIV and HIV stigma
Portland, Maine –– On World AIDS Day, a day to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and mourn those lost to the epidemic, Planned Parenthood remains committed to addressing the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV stigma and is proud to offer access to prevention education, tools that reduce transmission, and HIV testing at all its health centers in Maine.
PPNNE health centers in Maine also offer Insti HIV tests which provide results in 60 seconds or less. The new Insti tests provide faster results, earlier detection of HIV, and better accuracy.
“For many patients, the most painful part about getting tested for HIV is the wait, in some cases days, to get results,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy. “We want to provide all people, especially those already facing barriers to accessing quality health care, with comprehensive and cutting-edge HIV prevention methods, including Insti HIV tests and PrEP.”
PPNNE health centers also offer PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, a daily pill that can help prevent HIV. Taking PrEP every day can decrease chances of contracting HIV from sex by more than 90%.
“Planned Parenthood is committed to offering compassionate care, quality education, and accurate information to all our patients,” added Clegg. “Insti tests and PrEP are important components of PPNNE’s comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and the community’s ability to reduce the transmission of HIV.”
Often the success of preventive programs for HIV and STI are predicated on convenience, which is why PPNNE offers same day and next day appointments for testing including evening and weekend hours. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit www.ppnne.org.
Planned Parenthood to offer free HIV testing Week June 23-27
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — In recognition of National HIV Testing Day (June 27), Planned Parenthood of West and Northern (PPWNM) is encouraging men, women, and young people to get tested for HIV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all Americans ages 13-to-64 receive routine HIV testing, not just those considered high risk.
In an effort to promote early detection and help people in the community remain healthy, PPWNM will be offer FREE HIV TESTING WEEK from Monday, June 23 through Friday, June 27, 2014, by appointment. PPWNM has locations in eight Michigan cities: Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Ionia, Muskegon, Big Rapids, Traverse City, Petoskey, and Marquette. People can call 800.230.PLAN (7526) and be connected to their nearest Planned Parenthood health center to make an appointment for Free HIV Testing Week, or log on to ppwnm.org for local contact numbers.
Rates of HIV remain a major concern in this country, particularly among young people and in specific communities. In the U.S., men who have sex with men, African Americans, and Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV. “In the United States, more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in six do not know they are infected. You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have HIV — the only way to know is to get tested,” said PPWNM Vice President of Medical Services Bridget White. “National HIV Testing Day is a reminder that getting tested for HIV is an important step in both stopping the spread of HIV and taking care of ourselves.”
PPWNM is able to provide Free HIV Testing Week, June 23–27, 2014, thanks to a partnership with Alere Inc., maker of the rapid HIV test.
“PPWNM provides affordable, convenient rapid HIV testing with results in just 20 minutes at eight health centers across the region,” White added. “Our doors are open to everyone, and we are here for any questions or concerns you might have.”
In addition to private, confidential HIV testing, Planned Parenthood offers a wide range of preventive health services including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), breast health services, the HPV vaccine for women and men ages 19-to-26, and sexual health information and education. Last year, PPWNM provided health care to nearly 14,000 people in our communities, conducting nearly 3,100 HIV tests.
Getting tested for HIV is simply a basic part of taking care of your health and your body — and it’s easier than ever before:
● Getting tested for HIV is quick, simple, and painless. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes from just a quick finger poke.
● Not all medical checkups include routine HIV testing — so unless you ask to be tested, you can’t assume you have been.
● Some conversations may seem hard to have, but open communication with your partner is essential to staying healthy and stopping the spread of HIV.
You can take care of yourself and your partner by getting tested before you start having sex. “Once you know your status, there is a lot you can do to protect your health, including practicing safer sex,” said White. “And the sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get any treatment and information you might need, depending on the results. Early treatment can help prevent serious health problems down the line.”
HIV can be managed and HIV-positive individuals can live full lives if they know their status and take action to stay as healthy as possible. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. June is Men’s Health Month, an opportunity for men to take charge of their sexual health by getting regular checkups and screenings, including STI testing. Planned Parenthood provides basic health care for men, including HIV testing, testing and treatment for other STIs, and sexual health information and education. June is also Pride Month and Planned Parenthood is proud to provide health services and information to the LGBTQ community.
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Free HIV Testing Clinics
UNC Charlotte Student Health Center hosts Carolinas CARE Partnership (CCP) is a community partner in the fight against HIV/AIDS. CCP holds confidential and free testing clinics at the Student Health Center. The clinic schedule is available by contacting the Student Health Center at 704-687-7400 or click the link below for the current semester schedule.
Students interested in the free testing provided during the CCP clinics should call to schedule an appointment. Although appointments are scheduled with the Student Health Center (SHC) and the appointment will take place in the Student Health Center, no testing information is shared with the SHC. The results of testing are available through the Carolinas CARE Partnership counselor. Results are received by contacting the testing counselor directly. Test results are typically available about two weeks after the testing appointment. Contact information is given during the appointment. For questions about this service, not related to specific test results, please contact the Student Health Center, 704-687-7400.
INFORMATION ABOUT CAROLINAS CARE PARTNERSHIP
The Mission of the Carolinas CARE Partnership is: To foster and to ensure a regional approach to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS and to meet with compassion and dignity the needs of those affected by the disease.
More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 (15.8%) are unaware of their infection. In the State of NC, over 36,000 and in Mecklenburg County, over 6,000 individuals are living with HIV/AIDS.
Carolinas CARE Partnership has been a community partner in the fight to connect not only those living with HIV/AIDS with the critical resources they need but also educate those potentially at risk about prevention.
We provide free and confidential testing, community education, housing assistance, counseling, prevention intervention and supportive services. In addition, a mobile testing unit that takes our HIV prevention program to up to 13 counties in the Charlotte metro region.
Since 1990, Carolinas CARE Partnership is committed to prevention and serving those living with HIV and AIDS now through our programs and services and to being a part of a solution for a future without HIV/AIDS.