HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV can lead to AIDS if not treated. But with early and continuous medical care, someone with HIV can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV. Everyone aged 13-64 should get tested for HIV at least once. Some people are more at risk Cdc-pdf[659 KB] for HIV and should be tested at least once a year. Some sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3-6 months). Women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should get tested as soon as possible so they can take steps to protect their babies if they have HIV.


Key Facts

  • An estimated 1.1 million people have HIV in the U.S. About 1 in 7 of them don’t know they have the virus.
  • The only way to know you have HIV is to get tested.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for an HIV test, or go to  to find a testing site near you.
  • If you have HIV, treatment is available to keep you healthy and protect your sex partners.
  • The sooner people with HIV start treatment, the more they benefit.


Man getting tested

Get Tested

Many clinics and testing locations offer free, confidential HIV tests, often using an oral swab instead of drawing blood. Find a testing site near you at, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. You can also get a home testing kit (OraQuick In-Home HIV Test) from a drugstore.

Homosexual couple

Get Involved

Support people who have HIV. Have an open, honest conversation about staying safe and healthy. Listen to the challenges that people with HIV face and provide support for their special needs.

Man doing crossfit

Get In Care. Stay In Care. Live Well.

Today, people who have HIV can live long, healthy lives if they stay on treatment. Visit CDC’s HIV Treatment Works campaign ( to learn how people with HIV can get in care, stay on treatment, and live well.

Prevention Tips

  • If you have HIV, get and stay on treatment, called antiretroviral therapy (ART), to protect your health and help prevent transmitting HIV to others.
  • If you are at high risk for HIV, take daily medicine to prevent HIV, called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  • Take antiretroviral medicine, called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), if you think you have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours and are not on PrEP.
  • Get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Having other STDs increases your risk for getting or transmitting HIV.
  • Limit the number of sex partners. Having fewer sexual partners lowers your chances of getting HIV or transmitting HIV if you already have the virus.
  • Choose less risky activities like oral sex.
  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
  • Don’t inject drugs, or if you do, don’t share needles, syringes, or works.
  • Abstinence (not having sex) and not sharing needles or works are 100% effective ways to prevent HIV.

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Page last reviewed: April 8, 2019