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HIV Testing

HIV Testing

An HIV test is the only way to know if you or a partner has HIV. There are an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV, including about 158,500 people who are unaware of their status. Nearly 40% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people who don’t know they have the virus. For people with undiagnosed HIV, testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and preventing HIV transmission.

Outreach testing services are offered by CBO's and Local Health Departments who receive funding from the Department of Health through CDC grants. Our partners use a rapid antibody screening test usually with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid and results are ready in 30 minutes or less.

CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. For people with certain risk factors, CDC recommends getting tested at least once a year. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.

People with certain risk factors should get tested more often. You should get tested at least once a year if:

  • You’re a man who has had sex with another man.
  • You’ve had anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV.
  • You’ve had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test.
  • You’ve shared needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment (for example, cookers).
  • You’ve exchanged sex for drugs or money.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted disease.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB).
  • You’ve had sex with someone who has done anything listed above or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know.

For women who plan to become pregnant, testing is even more important. If a woman is HIV+, medical care and certain drugs given during pregnancy can lower the chance of passing HIV to her baby. All women who are pregnant should be tested during each pregnancy.

New HIV Diagnoses in the U.S. and Dependent Areas for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2021:

CDC bar graph showing most affected sub-populations in the USA as of 2021
Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2021. HIV Surveillance Report 2023;34.

For more information, please call the HIV Prevention Program at 317-233-8602

HIV Testing Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is HIV and should I be tested?
    HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life.
    Only certain body fluids; blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk from a person who has HIV can transmit HIV. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, penis, and mouth. Early HIV infection often has no symptoms. The only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to be tested. Currently, there is no effective cure that exists for HIV. However, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled.
    CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once as a part of their routine health care. People with higher risk factors, such as more than one sex partner, other STDs, gay and bisexual men and individuals who inject drugs should be tested at least once a year. To learn more about HIV/AIDS visit:
  • How do I know if I am at risk to get HIV?

    Knowing your risk can help you make important decisions to prevent exposure to HIV. The CDC has developed the HIV Risk Reduction Tool to help you know risk and for better understanding of how different prevention methods like using condoms or taking PrEP, can reduce your risk.  Overall, an American has a 1 in 99 chance of being diagnosed with HIV at some point in his or her lifetime. However, the lifetime risk is much greater among some populations. If current diagnosis rates continue the lifetime risk of getting HIV is:

    • 1 in 6 for gay and bisexual men overall
    • 1 in 2 for Black/African American gay and bisexual men
    • 1 in 4 for Hispanic gay and bisexual men
    • 1 in 11 for white gay and bisexual men
    • 1 in 20 for Black/African American men overall
    • 1 in 48 for Black/African American women overall
    • 1 in 23 for women who inject drugs
    • 1 in 36 for men who inject drugs
    Your health behaviors also affect your risk. You can get or transmit HIV only through specific activities. HIV is commonly transmitted through anal or vaginal sex without a condom or sharing injection and other drug injection equipment with a person infected with HIV. Substance use can increase the risk of exposure to HIV because alcohol and other drugs can affect your decision to use condoms during sex. To learn more about your HIV risk and ways to reduce these risks, visit:
  • What if my HIV test is positive?

    If your test result is positive, you can take medicine to treat the virus. HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load). Taking HIV treatment as prescribed can make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it (undetectable viral load). Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load (or staying virally suppressed) is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.

    If you need help finding a provider you can contact a member of the IDOH HIV Services team by calling 866-588-4948 and select option #1 or by emailing

  • What puts me at risk for HIV?

    The most common ways HIV is transmitted in the United States is through anal or vaginal sex or sharing drug injection equipment with a person infected with HIV. Although the risk factors for HIV are the same for everyone, some racial/ethnic, gender, and age groups are far more affected than others.

    More information:

  • How do I protect myself and my partner(s) from HIV?

    Your life matters and staying healthy is important. It’s important for you, the people who care about you, and your community. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partners healthy. You should get tested for HIV, and encourage your partners to get tested too.  For people who are sexually active, there are more tools available today to prevent HIV than ever before. The list below provides a number of ways that you can lower your chances of getting HIV. The more of these actions you take, the safer you can be.

    • Get tested and treated for other STDs and encourage your partners to do the same. All adults and adolescents from ages 13-64 should be tested at least once for HIV and high-risk groups get tested more often.  STDs can have long-term health consequences.  They can also increase your chance of getting HIV or transmitting it to others. It is important to have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested for STDs.  Your healthcare provider can offer you the best care if you discuss your sexual history openly. Find an HIV/STD testing site.
    • Use condoms consistently and correctly.
    • Talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). CDC recommends that PrEP be considered for people who are HIIV-negative and at substantial risk for HIV. For sexual transmission, this includes HIIV-negative persons who are in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner. It also includes anyone who 1) is not in a mutually monogamous* relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative, and 2) is a gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months; or heterosexual man or woman who does not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection (e.g., people who inject drugs or have bisexual male partners). For people who inject drugs, this includes those who have injected illicit drugs in the past 6 months and who have shared injection equipment or been in drug treatment for injection drug use in the past 6 months. See more information at
    • Talk to your doctor right away (within 3 days) about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you have a possible exposure to HIV. An example of a possible exposure is if you have anal or vaginal sex without a condom with someone who is or may be HIV-positive, and you are HIV-negative and not taking PrEP. Your chance of exposure to HIV is lower if your HIV-positive partner is taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) consistently and correctly, especially if his/her viral load is undetectable (see Can I transmit HIV if I have an undetectable viral load). Starting medicine immediately (known as post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP) and taking it daily for 4 weeks reduces your chance of getting HIV.
    • If your partner has HIV, encourage your partner to get into care and to take HIV medicine as prescribed. Taking HIV medicine as prescribed can make the level of virus in their body very low (called viral suppression) or even undetectable. A person with HIV who gets and stays virally suppressed or undetectable can stay healthy and has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners through sex.

    * Mutually monogamous means that you and your partner only have sex with each other and do not have sex outside the relationship.

  • How do HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and STDs relate to each other?

    Persons who have an STD are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected persons to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact. In addition, if a person who is HIV positive also has an STD, that person is more likely to transmit HIV through sexual contact than other HIV-infected persons.

    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV are bloodborne viruses transmitted primarily through sexual contact and injection drug use. Because of these shared modes of transmission, a high proportion of adults at risk for HIV infection are also at risk for HBV infection. HIV-positive persons who become infected with HBV are at increased risk for developing chronic HBV infection and should be tested. In addition, persons who are co-infected with HIV and HBV can have serious medical complications, including an increased risk for liver-related morbidity and mortality.

    Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States. For persons who are HIV infected, co-infection with HCV can result in a more rapid occurrence of liver damage and may also impact the course and management of HIV infection.

  • What if my HIV test is negative?

    If your test result is negative, you can take actions to prevent HIV.

    • Use condoms consistently and correctly.
    • Talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
    • Get tested regularly