HIV Testing

Know your status. Knowing your HIV status helps you make decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV. Find an HIV testing site near you:

Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV causes HIV infection in the human body. This virus attacks the immune system and makes it weak to fight off other infections. HIV particularly affects and destroys the CD4 lymphocytes cells of the immune system, and after losing the CD4 cells, our body loses its ability to protect us from many common infections. Without treatment, HIV infection can lead to AIDS. There was a time when many people died of it as there was no treatment available then. Now, even though there is no cure for HIV, there are treatments available, which help you maintain your health by lowering the level of HIV in your body. The available HIV treatment is antiretroviral therapy or ART, which involves taking medicine as prescribed by a health care provider.

Most HIV infections transmits during anal or vaginal sex, or when persons share needles, syringes, or other drug injection supplies. Moreover, the HIV can be spread from a woman with HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breast feeding. It cannot be shared by hugs, kisses, or food sharing. HIV cannot be contracted through eating food handled by an HIV-positive person. The risk of transmission through intact skin is nonexistent. Since HIV cannot be spread through saliva, there are no known instances of HIV transmission through spitting.

HIV has several symptoms. The symptoms will not be the same for everyone. Depending on the individual and the stage of the condition they are experiencing. In most cases, symptoms of the flu appear 2 to 4 weeks after infection. Symptoms may last for a few days or several weeks. The mere presence of these signs does not indicate HIV infection. Similar symptoms may be caused by other diseases. Some patients show absolutely no symptoms.
According to CDC, approximately 1.2 million people had HIV at the end of 2021 in the United States, and among them, almost 87% people knew that they have HIV. Health disparity can be seen when it comes to HIV infection. Those who are Black or African American are most at risk for HIV. Black or African American people made for 40% (14,528) of all new HIV diagnoses in 2021. Latino/Hispanic people are also disproportionately impacted. They represented 29% (10,467) of all newly diagnosed HIV cases.

It is recommended by many experts that it is important for everyone to be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime because testing is the only way to keep the individual and other people safe. By knowing HIV status, people can make informed decisions about avoid getting or receiving treatment for it. According to NIH, there are three types of tests that can be used to diagnose HIV, and Antibody test is one of them, where HIV antibodies are checked in the blood or in the oral fluid. Additionally, HIV antigens, which are a component of the virus and can be found in the blood using antigen/antibody tests. Nucleic Acid Tests (NATs) look for HIV in the blood. The health care provider can determine which test would be suitable for an individual.

There are many stigmas around HIV and HIV positive patients. Therefore, many people may hesitate to do an HIV test. However, it is important to get the test done in order to receive effective treatment. Testing for HIV can be confidential or anonymous. Your name and other identifying information will be placed in your medical record together with the results of your HIV test if it is conducted in a confidential manner. Results of HIV tests that are positive are reported to regional or state health departments so that they can be included in statistical analyses. Before sending test results for HIV to the CDC, health departments scrub all personally identifiable information (including names and addresses) from the data. The CDC only uses this data for reporting purposes and does not give it to any other organizations, including insurance companies. You can take an HIV test anonymously if you don’t want to provide your name. You get a number when you take the test. In lieu of your name, you provide the number to obtain your HIV test results.

A health care provider can give HIV tests to individuals. HIV testing can be done without any cost through designated HIV testing sites. The links below contains the information about HIV testing sites of the Montgomery and Prince George’s County, where people can go and access different services regarding HIV.

To know more about HIV and testing, visit the links below:


HIV Testing
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