Anonymous on October 18, 2011

I’m looking to get screened. Where can I test for HIV?

I think I may be at risk for HIV, and I want to get tested. But I’ve never been tested before and I don’t really want to go to my doctor. Where can I test for HIV anonymously?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on October 18, 2011

I’m glad that you’re being proactive about getting tested for HIV. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV. Why? Because many people with the virus don’t experience any obvious symptoms or signs of infection for 10 years or more. 

So, where can you test for HIV? There are several options: 

  • Your doctor’s office: Your regular doctor can help you get tested for STDs and HIV. Make sure to specify exactly which tests you want...most doctors don’t automatically screen for HIV and other common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In fact, many doctors don’t bring up the topic of STD or HIV testing unless you ask first. 
  • Your county health department or a local clinic: In most states, county health departments offer STD testing, as do some local clinics (e.g., the Planned Parenthood in your area). 
  • Online STD testing: If you’re concerned about privacy, and you don’t want the hassle and expense (and possible embarrassment) of getting tested through a doctor’s office or a clinic, online STD testing may be the best option for you.

Where you get tested for STDs is ultimately a personal choice. For starters, though, you can learn more about HIV testing in our Expert Guide to HIV. 

Thanks again for your question, and I wish you good luck and good health.

Related info: 

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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