HIV Testing

Test Today. Don’t Delay.

Many people have HIV for years before they know it.


Many people have HIV for years before they know it.

In 2015, nearly 40,000 people in the US received an HIV diagnosis

1 in 2 had been living with HIV 3 years or more

1 in 4 had been living with HIV 7 years or more

1 in 5 already had the most advanced stage of HIV (AIDS)



Half of heterosexual men with HIV got a diagnosis 5 years or more after they got the virus—later than any other group.


Second Callout:

MISSED Opportunities

7 in 10 people at high risk who weren’t tested for HIV in the past year saw a healthcare provider during that time. More than 75%  of them weren’t offered a test.


Many people at high risk* for HIV aren’t getting tested every year

Fifty-nine percent of heterosexuals at increased risk for HIV, 42% of people who inject drugs, and 29% of gay and bisexual men were not tested last year for HIV.

*People at high risk for HIV include: 1) sexually active gay and bisexual men, 2) people who inject drugs, and 3) heterosexuals who have sex with someone who is at risk for or has HIV.

SOURCES: CDC National HIV Surveillance System, 2015; CDC National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, 2014-2016

HIV Testing: Gateway to Lifesaving Treatment and Prevention


HIV Testing: Gateway to Lifesaving Treatment and Prevention


 Before Testing

  • Talk to all your patients about HIV. Tell them HIV testing is a routine part of a patient’s healthcare.
  • Have the conversation about HIV risk. Don’t assume you know a patient’s risk.

Giving the Test

  • Make HIV testing routine for everyone aged 13 to 64. Know your patients’ status!
  • Test patients at high risk at least once a year. Consider the potential benefits of more frequent testing (for example, every 3 to 6 months) for sexually active gay and bisexual men.
  • Test women as soon as possible if they are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. If they are at high risk, test them again in the third trimester.

After the Test

  • If people have HIV, link them to treatment quickly and talk about how to prevent transmission. The sooner people start HIV treatment, the more they benefit.
  • Encourage patients with HIV to stay in care to reduce the virus in their body to very low or undetectable levels.
  • Help all patients understand their risk and the best prevention options. 



 Before Testing

  • Know why HIV testing is important for everyone.
  • Your provider may ask you personal questions that are important for both of you to understand your HIV risk. Be as open and honest as you can. 

Taking the Test

  • Ask your healthcare provider to test you for HIV. Know your status!
  • Ask your provider how often you should get retested.
  • If you aren’t tested by your provider, find a testing site by:
    • Visiting,
    • Texting your ZIP code to KNOW-IT (566948), or
    • Calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
  • You can also get a home testing kit (the Home Access HIV-1 Test System or the OraQuick HIV Test) online or from a drugstore.

After the Test

  • Find out your results.
  • If you have HIV, start treatment quickly to get the most benefit. Stay in care and take medicine as prescribed to be healthy and protect your sex partners from HIV.
  • If you don’t have HIV, ask your provider or use the HIV Risk Reduction Tool to learn the best ways to prevent it.

SOURCE: Vital Signs, November/December 2017