What should I expect when I go in for an HIV test?

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What should I expect when I go in for an HIV test?

If you get a test in a health care setting or lab, a health care provider or lab technician will take your sample (blood or oral fluid). If it’s a rapid test, you may be able to wait for the results, but if it is a laboratory test, it can take several days for your results to be available. Your health care provider or counselor may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps with you, especially if your result is positive.

  • If the test comes back negative, and you haven’t had a possible exposure during the window periodfor the test you took, you can be confident you don’t have HIV.
  • If your test result is positive, the lab will conduct follow-up testing, usually on the same blood sample as the first test.

If you are tested outside of a health care setting or a lab, you will likely receive a rapid test (oral fluid or finger stick).

  • If the test comes back negative, and you haven’t had a possible exposure during the previous 3 months, you can be confident you don’t have HIV.
  • If your test result is positive, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. Counselors providing the test should be able to answer questions and provide referrals for follow-up testing as well.