You’ve decided to get an HIV test. Now you need to choose the best place to do it.
Thankfully, you have options! Here are five, and how to find one close to you:
1. Clinics or hospitals
A lot of people get an HIV test at the local clinic or hospital, where it is always free. Sometimes there are tents outside offering HIV testing or sometimes you go into the main clinic or hospital. Just ask the guard or receptionist where to go when you arrive. You can use the clinic finder to help you find a clinic or hospital near you.
2. Maternity clinics
Most pregnant women get an HIV test at the maternity clinic when they go for their check-ups. It’s the best way to keep both mother and baby healthy. If you’re pregnant and going for a check-up, the clinic should offer you an HIV test. Otherwise, you can also ask for one.
3. Drug and alcohol rehab centers
Drug and alcohol rehab centers in your community may offer HIV testing. If you’re already attending or planning to attend one, ask the staff.
4. Specialist HIV/Sexual health services
You may have seen pop-up tents or mobile clinics in your community that offer HIV testing. If there’s one in your area, it can be a quick and convenient way to get tested. (Like we said above, you might also see some of these tents outside the clinic.)
5. Youth centers/ Community centers
Some youth and community centers can help you get an HIV test. If you’re already going to one, just ask the staff. If they don’t offer HIV testing, they may be able to tell you where else you can go. You have choices! The first step starts with you choosing to get tested!
You can now also do an HIV self-screening test yourself, using either saliva or a drop of blood, depending on the type of test. You can use the test at home in private, or in some cases the person who gives you the test kit can help you if you’d like.
In some communities, there are programs giving out HIV self-screening tests for free. You can also buy them at Clicks, Dis-Chem and other pharmacies, or online.
If you choose to do a self-screening test, it is important that you read and follow the instructions correctly so that you get an accurate result. If the result is positive, you will need to go to the clinic for a confirmation test.
Checklist for when you get tested for HIV:
- You must agree to the test (consent). No one can force you to test.
- You should be able to talk to a counsellor before and after the test, to make sure you understand everything and can get any support you might need.
- Your test results should be private and confidential. No one has the right to share your HIV status without your permission.
- You should be able to see the test kit showing an HIV positive or negative result.
- Depending on the test result, you should be given information on options for either HIV treatment or prevention.
If you are looking for a place to get an HIV test, you can use the clinic finder to find a nearby clinic.