The only way to know whether you have HIV is by having an HIV test. A test sample is taken to look for HIV antibodies, which are produced when a person is infected with HIV.
What tests do I need? Answer a few questions and this site will help you decide: www.hivtest.org
The Window Period in HIV Testing
- The window period is the time between exposure to HIV and when the body has produced enough antibodies to the virus to be detected by an HIV test.
- During the window period, an infected person is very contagious and can transmit the HIV virus to others.
- The average time for detectable antibodies to develop is 25 days after infection.
The HIV Test Flow Chart
HIV Test Flow Chart
Types of Tests
Rapid Test - A 20-minute test using a fingerstick drop of blood or an oral swab. It is 99 percent accurate. Results are typically available in 20 minutes.
Insti Test - A one-minute finger stick test with results available in about a minute.
Home Test - Available online or from a pharmacy. Tests are 92% accurate for HIV-positive and almost 100% accurate for negative results.
Traditional Blood Draw - A blood specimen is sent to a laboratory and results are usually available in seven to ten days. If another test shows HIV-positive, this test will be done to confirm those result
Ways to be Tested
Anonymous - A client may want to get an HIV test without giving a name. Results can only be given in person and the client is the only person who will know the results.
Confidential - A client can get an HIV test confidentially; the client's name will be recorded on their medical forms.