Testing at a Community Provider

If you get an HIV test at a County Health Department or community-based organization, the process will pretty much be the same.

First, you'll check in at the front desk and be asked to wait until you're called. When it’s your turn, you’ll meet in private with the person who will complete the test. He/she will ask some questions about your age, race/ethnicity, gender and potential risk factors.

Most likely, there will also be some questions about sexual activity and injection drug use. For some people, it may be uncomfortable to talk about these things, but it’s very important to be open and honest when answering these questions. You won’t be judged. Also, it’s OK for you to ask questions about the test being used, or the testing process.

Most health departments and community organizations will use a rapid HIV test. These tests can provide results in less than 30 minutes. These tests can be blood based, or use oral fluid (cells collected from between your cheek and gums). 

After a short wait, you'll be called again, and your test results will be shared in private. Some places might allow you to leave, and call in later for your results, or log on to a secure website for online viewing.

What Happens Next?

If you’re HIV negative, you’ll be offered information about prevention options, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

If you’re HIV positive, you’ll receive compassionate care to help you understand your diagnosis and manage any stress of fears. You’ll also get help connecting to medical care and supportive services, and to confidentially inform partners who may be ask risk.