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Getting tested for HIV is a major step in taking control of your health. Although the idea of testing may be overwhelming, it is actually a simple, confidential process. Your gynecologist can answer all of the questions you have along the way so that you can make the right choices for your own health. Here is a look at some questions patients who are undergoing HIV testing frequently have, so you can arm yourself with the facts.

Patient receiving blood work

How is HIV testing done?

HIV testing can be done using a blood sample or oral swab. This sample is tested to see if it contains any antibodies consistent with HIV infection. The amount of time it takes to get test results depends on the kind of testing being performed. In some cases, results are available in as little as 30 minutes, while other tests can take a few weeks to come back. Your gynecologist will discuss the testing method he or she is using with you and tell you what to expect.

Who should get tested?

If you have been sexually active with someone whose HIV status you don’t know, you should consider getting tested. You should also consider getting tested after sharing needles, exchanging sex for money or drugs, or having sex with anyone who has engaged in those behaviors. Being sexually assaulted, having another STD, or having hepatitis or tuberculosis also means you have an increased risk of HIV and should consider getting tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that everyone should be tested at least one time. Your gynecologist can help you decide if you should get tested more often.

What happens when I get my test results?

If your results are negative, your gynecologist will discuss safe sex strategies you can use to continue to avoid infection. If your results are positive, after confirming the results with another test, your doctor will discuss your HIV treatment options with you. There are many treatments available today that allow people to live long healthy lives while being HIV positive.

Let Washington Surgi-Clinic guide you through the process of HIV testing and treatment in Washington, D.C. To make an appointment for STD testing or other gynecology services, please call (202) 659-9403.