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HIV Screening - Topic Overview

Getting tested for HIV can be scary, but the condition is treatable. So it is important to get tested if you think you have been exposed. Early detection and monitoring of HIV will help your doctor find out whether the disease is getting worse and when to start treatment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone should get tested for HIV as part of their regular medical care. Also, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening tests for HIV:1

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  • As part of regular medical care for people 15 to 65 years old.
  • For all pregnant women.
  • For people younger than 15 and older than 65 if they have a high risk for HIV, such as for people who engage in high-risk behavior.

You and your doctor can decide if testing is right for you.

You can get HIV testing in most doctors' offices, public health clinics, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood clinics. You can also buy a home HIV test kit in a drugstore or by mail order. But be very careful to choose only a test that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If a home test is positive, see a doctor to have the result confirmed and to find out what to do next.

For more information, see the topic HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 16, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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