HIV Testing

Testing Season

Find out about HIV testing and retesting. And why it may be a good idea to think of every season as testing season.

Who Should Get Tested?

Everyone between the ages of
13 and 64 should get tested for
HIV at least once.


Just getting tested once may not be enough. National guidelines from the CDC and other groups recommend retesting at least once a year for anyone at higher risk for getting HIV, including:

  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with more than 1 sexual partner
  • Transgender people who have sex with men
  • People who have recently had a sexually transmitted infection
  • People who use injection drugs
The CDC also suggests regular retesting for some sexually active gay and bisexual men. About every 3 to 6 months.

You should also get tested or retested if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.


1. You should get retested if you have had anal or vaginal sex without a condom, or if you have shared injection drug equipment with someone who has HIV.

2. The CDC suggests retesting because of the "window period." This is the length of time between exposure to HIV and when HIV shows up on a test. This can take up to three months. So if your test result is negative, protect yourself and get retested after three months.

3. Retesting can help you feel more confident about your health.

Icon of male holding his HIV test results

Have more questions about testing guidelines? Talk to a healthcare provider.

You can also get answers from the CDC.

Icon of US map with drop pins


You can ask a healthcare provider for an HIV test. Or you can visit a clinic, hospital, or community health center. Discuss your results, positive or negative, with a healthcare provider.

Many testing centers offer drop-in service and free HIV testing. Here is where to find one near you.

What Your Test Results Mean

HIV Positive

IF YOU DO HAVE HIV, find a healthcare provider to talk to. Resources and medicines are available to help you treat HIV. Starting and staying on treatment can help you live a longer and healthier life.

HIV Negative

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE HIV, you can stay that way. Use condoms and practice safer sex to help protect yourself. Talk to your partners about their test results. Never share needles. Get retested regularly. And ask a healthcare provider about all the ways you can prevent HIV.

HIV & AIDS: What's the Difference?


Weakens the immune system
and causes inflammation and damage inside the body

Makes it harder for the body
to fight off diseases

When left untreated, HIV can
eventually lead to AIDS


The most advanced stage of HIV infection

Occurs when a person's immune
system is badly damaged

Makes it easier for you to become extremely sick

Makes it difficult for the body to fight off certain cancers and infections

HIV Can Lead to AIDS,

But It Does Not Have to Happen.

If you have HIV, take care of yourself. Talk to a healthcare provider.
There is no cure for HIV, but starting and sticking to treatment can help stop the virus in your body.

3 ways treatment can help

Close the layer

You are now leaving
Would you like to continue?
By following this link, you are leaving this Gilead property. Gilead provides these links as a convenience. But these sites are not controlled by Gilead. Gilead is not responsible for their content or your use of them. For medical advice, please contact your healthcare provider. By following this link you are leaving this Gilead property. AIDSVu is presented by the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in partnership with Gilead. Gilead provides this link as a convenience.

Email This Page