There are certain populations with an increased risk of HIV, and these people should be tested for HIV at least once every year:
- Men who have sex with men (more frequent testing, every 3-6 months, may benefit sexually active gay or bisexual men)
- Sex partners of HIV-positive individuals
- Injectable drug users, particularly those who share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment
- Sex partners of injectable drug users
- Persons who exchange sex for money or drugs
HIV testing is recommended every 3 months for persons that are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication for HIV.
HIV testing is also recommended for:
- Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 at least once in their lifetime.
- Pregnant women. This enables prompt treatment, which reduces the risk of transmission to the baby by 1% or less if treatment begins early in the pregnancy.
- Persons diagnosed with another STD
- Persons diagnosed with hepatitis or tuberculosis
- Persons who have had sex with someone from one of the higher risk populations (listed above), or who have had sex with someone who hasn’t disclosed their sexual history.
This routine testing is very important as there are still an estimated 13.8% of persons with HIV in the United States who are unaware of their HIV status.