How HIV Testing Works

It is really common to feel a little worried about going for an HIV test. But making the decision to test is the best thing you can do for your health. The process is quick, painless, confidential and free.

Remember, the healthcare professional is not there to judge you. There is most likely nothing you can say that they haven’t heard from someone else.

Be honest with them, and ask as many questions as you want – that is what they are there for. Modern HIV tests are extremely accurate. There are a variety of different HIV tests and your healthcare worker should explain which test you will be given and how you will get your result. Normally, testing involves taking a small sample of blood from either your finger or your arm, or a sample of oral fluid. How long an HIV test takes to give you an accurate result depends on the type of test you are taking. If you are taking a rapid test, you will be given your results within 20 minutes. Other types of tests will be sent to a laboratory and you may have to wait for the result which may take between a few days to a few weeks for you to receive a final result.

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