There’s a lot to know, but here’s all you really need to know. An HIV screening looks for either antibodies or parts of the virus. If a screening spots anything suspicious and returns a positive result, you’ll need to get a follow-up test to confirm your HIV status.

Be open and honest with your testing provider about any recent possible exposures. This helps your provider choose the most appropriate test.

Types of HIV Tests


Detects HIV within
About 21
How it's done
Finger prick – drop of blood
Wait time for results
30 minutes
Where to get the test
Cost
Free or low cost (less than $20)
Detects HIV within
About 21
How it's done
Blood draw
Wait time for results
48 to 72 hours
Where to get the test
Cost
Free or low cost (less than $20)
Detects HIV within
3 months
How it's done
Finger prick (mail-in service)
Oral swab (self test)
Wait time for results
3 months
Where to get the test
Mysterykit.org
Local pharmacy
Cost
Free while available at mysterykit.org
$40-60 at pharmacy