HIV Testing Advice and Resources for Youth

HIV Testing

Some youth may wonder the following when HIV testing is brought up:

  • "I am very religious and live a chaste life, testing for HIV is so absurd."
  • "I am alive, strong, and healthy, why do I need to test for HIV?"
  • "What I don’t know wouldn’t hurt me; testing is not important."

The one question you should be asking is can I affirm I am HIV negative?

You can only make such affirmations when you confirm your HIV status by getting tested.

What is HIV Testing?

The Test

The Test

An HIV test is a test that determines the HIV status of an individual.
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How HIV/AIDS Diagnoses Affect Racial/Ethnic Groups

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a high and disproportionate percentage of new HIV diagnoses are among racial/ethnic groups such as Black/African and Hispanic/Latino men and women.

A high percentage of new HIV diagnoses are represented by a number of minority groups


Know the Facts

Eighty-one percent (7,868) of diagnoses among youth occurred in persons aged 20 to 24.

According to the CDC, an estimated 9,731 youth aged 13 to 24 were diagnosed with HIV in 2014 in the United States. Eighty-one percent (7,868) of diagnoses among youth occurred in persons aged 20 to 24.
 60 percent of the youth are unaware of their HIV status.

Data from the CDC indicates that about 60 percent of the youth are unaware of their HIV status. They can unknowingly pass HIV to others.

86 percent of young females got HIV by having heterosexual sex and 13 percent from injecting drugs.

In 2010, about 86 percent of young females got HIV by having heterosexual sex and 13 percent from injecting drugs.
In 2014, an estimated 1,716 youth aged 13 to 24 were diagnosed with AIDS.

In 2014, an estimated 1,716 youth aged 13 to 24 were diagnosed with AIDS, representing 8 percent of total AIDS diagnoses that year.

Getting Tested

Still not sure? Here are some answers to common questions about HIV testing.
How Do I Get Tested?

The first step to getting tested is acknowledging the importance of testing and also understanding that testing doesn’t mean you are sick.

There are three available tests for HIV. These include:

Antibody Test
This test detects HIV by looking for HIV antibodies in the body. There are three types of antibody tests:

Combination or Fourth Generation Test
This detects both the HIV antibodies and p24 antigen (HIV antigen).

Nucleic acid test (NAT)
NAT uses blood during testing. Unlike the other tests, the NAT looks for the virus and not the antibodies to the virus. The positive/negative results are determined by the actual amount of virus present in the blood (known as a viral load test).

All HIV tests are covered under your health insurance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Individuals uninsured can visit the CDC website to find free testing sites. All tests conducted are private and confidential.

Watch Testing Videos

How to use the Insti HIV Test (finger stick)

This test gives instant results in 60 seconds.


OraQuick (oral swab)

This test gives instant results in 20 minutes.

Where Do I Get Tested?

Getting an HIV test is simple:

  • Talk to your health care provider.
  • Testing is also offered at medical clinics, substance abuse programs, community health centers, and hospitals.
  • Text your ZIP code to KNOW IT (566948).
  • Visit gettested.cdc.gov.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
What Happens After the Results?
  • If you are 18 or older, your results are confidential between you and the health provider. If you are under 18, your parents or guardian can request health records. However, there are free clinics that provide unanimous testing; in other words you are given a number and your name is not used.
  • You will receive counseling regardless of the test results. This will help you avoid risky behaviors in the future.
  • If you test positive for HIV, you can be immediately placed on the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) program. The aim of this treatment is to reduce the amount of HIV virus in the individual’s body.
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