Choosing the Best HIV Testing Clinic
Worried you might have HIV? Getting tested can be just as much of a worry. Another worry can be the results of the test becoming public - although most people are better educated about HIV/AIDS and how it can be transmitted these days, some employers may still try to find an excuse to fire an employee they know is positive. If you have a primary care physician, you may be able to get them to arrange for you to be tested (in any case, if you have a PCP they should be informed of a positive result for any STD). For many people, though, going to a clinic is a better, or their only option. Read on to learn more about how to find the best HIV testing clinic.
Urgent care clinics can also offer testing and may be able to offer post exposure prophylaxis to people who know or suspect they have been exposed. If you are in college, campus health will often provide testing. Specialist STD testing clinics can be the easiest option for many people. In some cases, testing may be offered in mobile clinics or store front clinics - depending on the area, these may also be a good choice, but you should find out who runs them and what their reputation and experience is.
Make sure the clinic you choose is careful about confidentiality. Ask them how they protect your information - if you test positive, you want to be sure that your results will not be “leaked” to the internet - or to your boss or roommate. Also, find out about their reputation. The last thing you need is somebody conducting the test who will judge you for needing it (which is one reason why you may not want to go to an urgent care or walk-in clinic). Also make sure that the clinic is established. Find out which labs they use - most clinics will reveal this information - and find out about the lab’s reputation as well. Ask how long it will take to get results - more about rapid testing below. Also ask what the clinic will do if your results are positive and who they can refer you to.
Ask how much it costs and if you have insurance, make sure that they take your insurance. If you do not have insurance, it is often possible to find a clinic that will test you for free or on a sliding scale based off of income. Also, find out if the clinic offers rapid testing. Rapid testing is FDA approved and is much easier on you than traditional testing where you have to return to the clinic in one to two (likely anxious) weeks to get the results. With a rapid test they can give you your results in twenty minutes. Some clinics do not offer this because the appointment times are longer. It is, however, a better option for many people, especially if you have a partner you know is negative and want to give them the best protection by getting a rapid result.