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HIV Testing: What You Need to Know

How Often Should You Get Tested?

Everyone needs one HIV test, but who needs testing more often?

  • Adults who are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship should get tested once a year.
  • Pregnant women need to be tested for HIV early in their pregnancy.
  • People who are at increased risk need testing at least once a year -- and maybe 2-4 times a year. Check with your doctor. People at increased risk include men who have sex with men, and people who have unprotected sex, share needles, get paid for sex, or have other STDs.

If you think you were recently exposed to HIV -- you had unsafe sex, or the condom broke -- it may be too soon for any test to have an accurate result.

But you still need to see a doctor right away. One treatment -- PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis -- can help prevent the infection. Every minute counts -- you need to start PEP within 72 hours for it to work.

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Reviewed on December 12, 2013

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