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Should I Get Tested?

Last updated: July 2022

If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV, you must have many questions and it can be overwhelming. Be sure to use reputable sources when learning about HIV, especially on the Internet.

We are not medical professionals and cannot advise you about your personal risk of transmission the way an HIV counselor could, but we can give you some information that may be useful as you make decisions in the coming weeks.

Avoid misinformation about HIV

We hope to also clear up misinformation about HIV transmission that can feed into anxiety about testing, and may be helpful to others.

There are negative messages and stigma that can make it seem like people living with HIV are a threat to those around them, and this is a misconception that makes life incredibly difficult for those living with HIV. We hope this helps to connect you with resources and provide some clarity.

The following questions are based on the most frequently discussed topics on our discussion forums.

Quick Quiz

The CDC recommends that everyone who ________ gets an HIV test.

Quick Quiz

If you think you have been exposed to HIV, you can greatly reduce your chances of acquiring it by ______.

Quick Quiz

Which bodily fluid can transmit HIV?

Quick Quiz

The following is NOT a risk factor for aquiring HIV

Quick Quiz

Can HIV be transmitted through oral sex?

Find a testing center

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Our discussion forums have many questions from people who are concerned about their risk of acquiring HIV and nervous about testing.

Read how people living with HIV have supported them through their testing process. Start a new forum with your questions, and follow back up with us after your test to let us know how it went.

Words of advice

We asked our Facebook community what advice they have for those feeling anxious about getting an HIV test. Their answers, along with some advice from our advocates, is below.

"We know that early therapy is one of the keys to viral suppression...so I guess it’s a message that can help someone cope. ‘You can live with HIV. But first you have to know.’ " – Community member

"If the doctor does not ask you or tell you about having blood work done, take the initiative to ask them for it. Sometimes it is important for us to take charge of our own healthcare. There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing what we need for our well-being and asking the doctor for the proper care." – Heather, H-I-V.net Advocate

"It's a scary step to take but it's a good choice to go ahead and get tested. You owe it to yourself to know. If negative, great, but if positive, don't crumble down immediately, there are great doctors out there and as long as you are told by the doctor, you will be fine. You also need to know if you are sexually active. Do the right thing, get tested!!!!" – Community member

"Sometimes people may be hesitant to obtain an HIV test out of fear of unwanted results or simply not knowing what to expect in the testing room. Like any new activity, the more you engage, the easier it becomes. Eventually, testing will simply be a part of your normal health screening routine." – Shaina, H-I-V.net Advocate

What other questions do you have? What advice might you share with someone going for their first HIV test? Share in the comments below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The H-I-V.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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