Where can I be tested for HIV/AIDS?

You can go to any South Carolina county health department and be tested for free. Testing is confidential, but not anonymous. "Confidential" means that your results will not be released to anyone. Only the people who conduct the tests and maintain your medical file will see the results. "Anonymous" means that no one can connect the results to your name because your name was never recorded.

There are different kinds of HIV tests. Your blood, urine or saliva may be tested. If you test positive (meaning you are infected), you will be retested to make certain the test result is correct. If you test negative (meaning you are not infected), you are usually asked to return several months later to be tested again.

To learn more:

South Carolina AIDS/STD Hotline
The toll free South Carolina AIDS/STD Hotline operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Their staff can answer questions about testing, prevention and referrals for treatment for HIV/AIDS and other STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).
Phone: 1-800-322-AIDS
National HIV Testing Resource
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
This site can help you find an agency near you that can give you the test and offer you guidance. You can search by city and state, county and state or just use a zip code. If using only a zip code, you can search up to within 50 miles of that zip code. You can search for both fee-based and free testing or search for only free test sites.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
The CDC National Prevention Information Network has information about HIV testing in a question and answer format.
What Are HIV Antibody Tests?
(Body Health Resources Corporation)
The Three Kinds of HIV Antibody Tests are explained on The Body, an AIDS and HIV site that covers all aspects of the disease.

Testing at Home

You can buy home test kits and test yourself at home anonymously. You mail the blood sample to a lab. You are assigned a number or code so your name does not have to be used. Doctors do not recommend this. They are concerned that some people who test positive will not get the help they need. Also, it can be very upsetting to learn you are HIV-positive. It helps to have someone tell you in person and help you cope with it.
HIV Home Test Kits
(Food and Drug Administration)
The FDA has approved one HIV home health test kit. Other test kits may not be accurate and should not be used. If you are considering using a home health test, you should read Testing Yourself for HIV-1, the Virus that Causes AIDS on the FDA Web site.

If you test positive

If you are HIV positive, you must go to your local health provider to be referred to a specialist for treatment.
Testing Positive for HIV
(The Body)
This website has some helpful advice for people who test HIV Positive.

next » Is there a cure for HIV/AIDS?

Written by: Janice C. May, M.P.A.
Reviewed by: Jeffrey G. Schultze, M.D.
Links by: Lisa Antley-Hearn. B.A.
Last Modified: Monday March 23, 2009 10:23 AM