There are many different screening tests available, and every individual has different needs and risks. Your doctor will help you decide which test is right for you.
There is no test that is "the best" for everyone. Your doctor can recommend the screening test that's best for you, depending on your age, gender and risk factors. If you're at risk of being exposed to HIV (such as through unprotected sex or sharing needles), it's important to talk with your health care provider about getting tested and how often you should get tested in order to stay healthy.
You don't need a pelvic exam before getting tested unless it's recommended by your health care provider. Some tests require blood samples while others can be done with just a cheek swab (like the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test).
The first is called a blood test. The second type of test is an oral swab test, which is also known as a saliva test. For this test, you'll need to use a small stick to collect some saliva from your mouth and then place it in a container for testing at the doctor's office or clinic.
If your health care provider recommends that you get tested for HIV, he or she will explain the different kinds of tests available, including:
It’s true that you can’t tell if you have an STI by looking at yourself or your partner. You also can’t know for sure if someone has an STI just because they have symptoms, like sores or discharge. If you think your partner may be infected with HIV, the only way to know for sure is to get tested together.
If it turns out that one of you does not have HIV and the other does, there are medicines called preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that can lower your risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 92 percent when used correctly.
Your health care provider will talk with you about your sexual history and the risks that you've taken. He or she can also ask if you have had symptoms of an STI (such as discharge from the penis), such as itching, burning, soreness or pain when urinating. Your health care provider will then decide which screening tests are right for you.
You can get tested without a pelvic exam. The good news is that you don't need to go through a pelvic examination, which often involves an uncomfortable speculum exam and the risk of multiple samples being taken from your body. Instead, you can opt for one of these three ways to be tested:
It's important to discuss with your health care provider when, how often and what type of screening tests you should have. They can help you decide if testing is right for you and make recommendations based on your specific risk factors. If you aren't sure how often or what type of tests are best for you, ask yourself these questions:
If you have questions about testing, talk with your doctor. Your doctor can help you understand the different types of screening tests and how to get tested. There's no reason to be embarrassed or nervous—the goal of such conversations is to make sure that everyone gets the right treatment, as quickly as possible.
One thing doctors use to decide whether someone needs a pelvic exam is how often they've had sex, whether they're in a relationship with someone who has HIV and whether they've shared needles or other injection equipment with anyone who might be infected.
For example: If you haven't had sex yet but are planning on having it soon, it's important that your healthcare provider understands exactly when and how often this will happen. The same goes for people who plan on having casual sex or those who share injection equipment like syringes for recreational drug use; if there are any questions about risk factors—even things like unprotected oral sex—your healthcare provider may recommend an HIV test even if she isn't sure which STIs (sexually transmitted infections) could be present in your body just yet!
There are many options for screening tests, and your doctor can help you figure out which ones are right for you.
If you have a concern about the screening test or its results, talk with your doctor or nurse.
The best screening test for HIV is the one recommended by your health care provider. The only way to know whether you have an STI is to be screened. If you're worried about getting tested, talk with your doctor about any concerns that may make it harder for you to get tested in the future