You can get an HIV test in lots of places: your doctor’s office, clinics, hospitals, and health departments. See list of HIV Testing Sites in the Directory. The tests are typically inexpensive or free. HIV testing sites are either anonymous or confidential. You may talk with a counselor before the test and again when you get the results.
Most HIV tests are blood tests, although some are saliva and urine tests.
If you’re anxious about getting tested in a medical setting, the home tests are a good option. You can now buy a couple of different FDA approved home HIV antibody tests. They cost about $40. With the Home Access HIV-1 Test System test, you prick your finger and then send a drop of blood off for testing. Like other antibody tests, it’s more than 99% accurate. The results take 1 to 7 days. OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is a mouth swab that gives you your test results in 20 minutes. It’s about 92% accurate.
You will want to follow up a positive home test with a test at your doctor’s office or a clinic. The manufacturer provides confidential counseling and referral to follow-up testing sites. Because the level of antibody in oral fluid is lower than it is in blood, oral fluid tests find infection later after exposure than blood tests. Up to 1 in 12 people may test false-negative with these tests.
Make sure whatever home HIV test you use is FDA approved.