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What kind of HIV tests are available today?

Some people will test with an oral swab, so they just swab the inside of your mouth and you’ll get a result within 20 minutes that says whether you’re HIV positive or HIV negative. Some places offer a test where they just do a finger prick and use one drop of your blood, and they can give you an answer within 20 minutes. If you’re someone who’s scared of needles, and you want to get your HIV test, being scared of needles is not a reason to not get tested.

Dr. Flash walks you through the different HIV tests available.

There are several different types of HIV tests, but the two most common types are blood tests and oral swab tests. HIV blood tests may be a finger stick or a draw from the inner arm. Oral HIV tests use a swab to collect cells from inside the mouth.

Rapid tests can provide results in 20 minutes or as fast as a minute depending on the test. Many places offer free or low cost testing.

If you have a preference, ask your healthcare provider. At-home HIV test kits are also available for sale in many drug stores.

Click here for more information on HIV testing.


#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

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