HIV & Test

HIV testing is the only way for someone to know if he or she has HIV infection. Early detection and treatment of HIV infection and immune system monitoring can greatly improve long-term health. Also, if a person knows his or her HIV status, it may help change behaviors that can put that person and others at risk.

Several organizations recommend routine screening for HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American College of Physicians (ACP), and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend that anyone between the ages of 13 and 64 (or 15 to 65 in the case of the USPSTF) and pregnant women be screened for HIV at least once.

There are different types of tests may be used for HIV screening:

  • Combination HIV antibody and antigen test—this is the recommended screening test for HIV. It is available only as a blood test. It can detect infection soon after exposure.
  • HIV antibody testing—all HIV antibody tests used in the U.S. detect HIV-1 and some tests have been developed that can also detect HIV-2. These tests are available as blood tests or tests of oral fluid.
  • p24 antigen testing—this is used alone without the antibody test only in rare cases when there is a question about interference with an HIV antibody test.


* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.