Ask an Expert: When Should I Get Tested for HIV and How Do I Find a Free Testing Site?

This article is part of Health Divide: HIV, a destination in our Health Divide series.

Ask an expert HIV

Julie Bang / Verywell

Verywell Health: When should I get tested for HIV?

Dr. Elopre: Everyone should be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should at least get tested at least once, regardless of risk.

We want empowering messaging around testing. So technically anyone who’s sexually active should be tested.

If you don’t feel confident or comfortable asking a partner about their HIV status, if you want to know your HIV status yourself, or if you know that you have engaged in condomless sex and are at risk for HIV, I would recommend getting tested. That could be anywhere from every year to every six months to every three months.

This goes especially for individuals that have a higher risk of being exposed to HIV, which includes gay and bisexual men. If you are a member of a community with higher rates of HIV, it’s recommended that you get tested every three months, especially if you have had condomless, anal sex.

Getting an HIV test doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong; it’s just a part of healthy living and a part of having a healthy sexual life. Empowering ourselves and others by getting tested for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is something that we should all be doing.

Verywell Health: How do I find a free HIV testing site?

Dr. Elopre: is a great site that provides regulated and verified information about HIV and testing. If you input your location using your zip code, it will provide free testing sites in your area.

If you don’t have access to or you don’t have access to the internet, you can always call your local health department, which should have testing information on hand.

2 Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV testing.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How does taking an HIV test help me?