Basic Information

Everyone should know their HIV status, and the only way to know is to get tested for HIV. While there are symptoms of HIV, those systems are also associated with other types of illness. Because some behaviors increase individual risk for HIV infection, and if you continue these behaviors, you should be tested regularly. It is also recommended that all women who are pregnant or are planning on becoming pregnant should be tested for HIV. For more information view Deciding If and When to Get Tested (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Once HIV enters the body, the body starts to produce antibodies - substances the immune system creates after infection. Most HIV tests look for these antibodies rather than the virus itself. There are many different kinds of HIV tests, including rapid tests and home test kits. All HIV tests approved by the US government are very good at finding HIV. For information on approved HIV tests view HIV Testing (Food and Drug Administration).

For more information view Questions and Answers on HIV testing (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

General Resources

HIV Testing (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
The CDC's HIV Testing site provides information about the state of HIV testing in the United States, the CDC’s response to the challenges of HIV Testing, information about testing, recommendations and guidelines, reports, and slide sets among other information.

National HIV Testing Resources (HIVtest.org)
This resource provides a national database of HIV testing sites and locator to help find a test center as well as answers to many questions about HIV/AIDS and testing.

Women and HIV/AIDS, Get Tested for HIV (Office on Women's Health)
This resource provides an overview of HIV testing, why getting an HIV test is important to you and your partner, and other HIV testing information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

Last revised: 09/04/2008