How to Get Tested for HIV

February 4, 2022

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This month marks National Black History Month, and on February 7th, we observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to increase awareness of HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among Black communities. HIV cases are declining thanks to increased education of safe sex and advances in preventive methods like PrEP, but Black communities, especially men who have sex with other men, share a disproportionate amount of new HIV diagnoses.

 

This month take control of your health and know your status with an HIV test from ACCESS.

 

1. Who should get tested for HIV?

Everyone aged 13 to 64 should get tested for HIV at least once. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from testing every 3 to 6 months.

You should get tested at least once a year if you continue to engage in any of the following behaviors:

  • You’re a man who has had sex with another man.
  • You’ve had sex with a partner who has HIV.
  • You’ve had more than one partner since your last HIV test.
  • You’ve shared needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs.
  • You have another sexually transmitted disease, hepatitis, or tuberculosis.
  • You’ve had sex with anyone who has done anything listed above or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know.

 

2. What type of HIV tests are available at ACCESS?

ACCESS offers two type of HIV tests depending on whether they are administered in one of our health centers or at home.

  • An antigen/antibody HIV test detects the presence HIV antigens and antibodies by drawing blood. This type of HIV test requires a lab to process the sample and is available at any of our 35 health centers.
  • Oral fluid antibody self-tests are taken at home and detect HIV antibodies via an oral swab to the gums. Results are available within 20 minutes.

 

3. How much does it cost to get an HIV test at ACCESS?

The cost of an HIV test in one of our health centers depends on an individual’s income and insurance status, but no one will be denied services based on their inability to pay. Click here to learn more about ACCESS’ sliding fee scale program.

 

At-home HIV tests are free for eligible patients. If you qualify for a free test, you can call 312.526.2660 and arrange to pick up a test from an ACCESS Community Health Specialist or get the test dropped off to you directly. Patients who follow up with the Community Health Specialist with their results will receive an incentive.   

 

4. How long does it take to receive my results?

HIV test results from a blood sample take 24 to 48 hours. Results will be delivered by an ACCESS provider in a follow-up appointment that can be scheduled via a telehealth visit or in person at your health center.

 

Results from an at-home testing kit are delivered within 20 minutes. Patients who follow-up with an ACCESS Community Health Specialist and share their results are eligible to receive an incentive.

 

5. How often should I get tested for HIV?

If you have certain risk factors, are sexually active or use needles to inject drugs, continue to take actions to prevent HIV including taking PrEP, using condoms properly, and getting tested at least once a year to prevent HIV.

 

6. How can I get an HIV test from ACCESS?

Call 312.526.2660 to schedule an HIV test at your local ACCESS health center or to arrange for a pick-up or drop-off of an at-home HIV test.

 

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