HIV Testing Advice and Resources for Youth
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
- 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.
Youth and HIV/AIDS
Don't be a victim of ignorance.