Fighting the War Against HIV/AIDS with Music

Get Tested

It is important to know your status.

If you test negative, you can find out how to keep from getting infected in the future. If you test positive, you can take advantage of the advances in antiviral medications to maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn how to prevent passing HIV to others.

Although Lifebeat does not offer HIV testing, there are testing centers across the United States. For more information about HIV testing and the types of tests available, or to find a testing center near you, call the Centers for Disease Control Hotline, available 24 hours a day, at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). You can also visit visit for low to no-cost testing facilities based on your ZIP Code, or enter your ZIP Code below.


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When is the right time for me to get an HIV or STD test?

The CDC recommends that all Americans receive routine HIV testing as part of regular preventative health.

Anyone who is participating, or has participated in behaviors that increase your chances of getting HIV should be tested for HIV. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should definitely get an HIV test:

  • Have you had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with anonymous partners, multiple partners, or men who have sex with men?
  • Have you injected drugs or steroids or shared works (such as needles or syringes) with others?
  • Have you exchanged sex for drugs or money?
  • Have you had sex under the influence of sex or drugs?
  • Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB) or a sexually transmitted disease (STD) like syphilis?
  • Have you had unprotected sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions?

How long should I wait to get tested?

Most HIV tests are antibody tests that measure the antibodies your body makes against HIV. It can take some time for the immune system to produce enough antibodies for the antibody test to detect and this time period can vary from person to person. This time period is commonly referred to as the window period.

Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 2 to 8 weeks (the average is 25 days). Even so, there is a chance that some individuals will take longer to develop detectable antibodies. Therefore, if the initial negative HIV test was conducted within the first 3 months after possible exposure, repeat testing should be considered more than 3 months after the exposure occurred to account for the possibility of a false-negative result. Ninety seven percent will develop antibodies in the first 3 months following the time of their infection. In very rare cases, it can take up to 6 months to develop antibodies to HIV.

Another type of test is an RNA test, which detects the HIV virus directly. The time between HIV infection and RNA detection is 9-11 days. These tests, which are more costly and used less often than antibody tests, are used in some parts of the United States.

For information on HIV testing, you can talk to your health care provider or you can find the location of the HIV testing site nearest to you by calling CDC-INFO 24 Hours/Day at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).

What kind of HIV tests are available?


There are different types of HIV tests, including an antibody test which looks for HIV antibodies in a person’s blood, and a rapid test which is based on the same technology, but can produce results within 20 minutes.

Tests can be provided in health clinics, doctors’ surgeries or specialist HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) sites, by a doctor, trained counselor, nurse or other health professional. Either a blood sample or an oral fluid sample will be taken, depending on the type of test. The test should always be confidential, and personal doctors are not told without the person’s permission.

OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, is the first oral at home test to be approved by the FDA and is now available online and in many retail stores across the U.S.  An answer, appearing in the form of one or two reddish lines, arrives in 20 to 40 minutes.

When people use at-home testing kits, there’s a greater chance they’ll wind up with a false negative test result than if they’re tested in a medical center. Getting the results of your HIV test can be an emotional event. A test administered by a trained professional who can provide counseling and advice is recommended.


Where can I get tested?

You can get tested for HIV at most clinics, local health departments or your doctor. Some places provide the test for free.

You can also find the location of an HIV testing site nearest to you:

By Phone

Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National AIDS Hotline. They can answer any questions you might have about HIV and AIDS and direct you to a nearby test site. They are open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

English: 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)
Spanish: 800.344.7432

By Web

Visit for low to no-cost testing facilities near you, or enter your ZIP Code below:

Find HIV/AIDS Prevention & Service Providers

Enter your address, city and state, or ZIP Code:

For more information on this widget, please visit


By Text

Send a text message with your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948) to find an HIV testing center near you.

Know your HIV status? Text: Your Zip Code to KnowIT or 566948 to find HIV test centers near you


Knowledge is power. Knowing your HIV status can be the difference in living a healthy life.

Is HIV testing anonymous?

It is important to know that testing centers offer two types of testing procedures: confidential and anonymous.

Confidential HIV Testing centers record the person’s name along with the results of his or her test. Only medical personnel will have access to your results, unless you sign a release form to have your physician notified and your status included in your medical record. Your state health department may also be notified of your result so that it can track HIV infections.

Anonymous HIV Testing means that no name is ever given to the testing center, and only you and the health care professional that conducts the test will know the results.

How long will it take to get HIV test results?

It depends on the type of HIV test. There are several different types of HIV tests, but the two most common types are blood tests and oral swab tests.

HIV blood tests use a sample of blood, either from a finger prick or a larger sample often taken from the inner arm, to test for antibodies. Results from antibody tests that are sent to a laboratory usually return in 1-3 days.

Oral tests use a swab to collect cells from inside the mouth to test for HIV antibodies. Results from rapid tests are usually available in 15-20 minutes.

If the test result is positive, it is still necessary to send blood to a laboratory for a Western blot to be sure the rapid test results is correct. Home tests are mailed to a laboratory, and results return in one to two weeks. RNA testing results usually take a few days to a week, depending on the lab.

What to do if you are HIV positive?

If you test positive, it’s natural to feel scared, confused and unsure what to do next. However you can take advantage of the advances in antiviral medications to maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn how to prevent passing HIV to others. Detailed information on specific treatments is available from the Department of Health and Human Services’ You may also click here to find a local AIDS Service Organization near you.