Many places provide testing for HIV infection. It is important to seek testing at a location that also provides counseling about HIV and AIDS. Common locations include local health departments, private physicians, hospitals, and test sites specifically set up for HIV testing.
In addition to traditional testing procedures, there are other options. For those who prefer not to have blood drawn, many sites now offer oral fluids testing, which involves testing of a sample of fluid taken from inside the mouth with a cotton swab. The OraSure Test (http://www.orasure.com/ ) is currently only available through a health care provider or clinic. Some clinics may also offer urine testing as an alternative to blood tests.
There is also testing which can be performed anonymously in the privacy of your own home. There are many home tests advertised through the internet, but only the Home Access Test has been approved by the FDA. The Home Access test kit can be found at most local pharmacies. The testing procedure involves pricking your finger with a special device, placing a drop of blood on a specially treated card, then mailing the card in for testing. You are given an identification number to use when you phone in for the test results– 3 days or 2 weeks later, depending on the test kit purchased.
The CDC National AIDS Hotline can answer questions about testing and can refer you to testing sites in your area. The hotline numbers are 1-800-342-2437 (English), 1-800-344-7432, (Spanish), or 1-800-243-7889 (TTY).