HIV/Chlamydia/Gonorrhea Testing FAQ
Am I at risk? Should I get tested?
Annual testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea is recommended for young men/women who are sexually active.
The CDC recommends that all individuals 13-64 years old get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime as part of routine health care. If you have unprotected sex or share injecting drug equipment, you should be tested at least once per year. More specific information about risk factors can be found here.
What is the "Window Period"?
The majority of individuals will develop antibodies to HIV within 3-6 months of infection. HIV tests detect antibodies to HIV, not the virus itself. Therefore, re-testing may be necessary for people who have been potentially exposed to HIV within the window period prior to being tested. The test is approximately 99.8% accurate after six months.
How long does the HIV antibody test take?
A HIV Test Counselor will talk to you for approximately 20 minutes during your appointment to assess your HIV risk and ways to reduce that risk. The actual test itself takes approximately 30 seconds to complete. After taking the ADVANCE test, a client waits approximately 20 minutes for his/her results.
How is the HIV test administered?
The Student Wellness Center uses a test called the ADVANCE test, which is an oral swab. The client swabs in the gum line (above the teeth and against the outer gum) on top and bottom one time each. A client cannot have any food, liquid, gum or tobacco products in the mouth for 15 minutes prior to taking the test.
If the test is positive, does that mean I have HIV?
If the ADVANCE test is reactive, it is considered a PRELIMINARY POSITIVE. This suggests that antibodies to HIV may be present, but a client would need to have a confirmatory test before knowing their HIV status. A confirmatory test may be completed at Student Health Services, Columbus Public Health or the client's primary care provider (e.g. family doctor). Our test counselors will also refer clients to other services that they may need, including counseling and case management.
If the test is negative, does that mean I don't have HIV?
It can take your body three to six months after your last possible exposure to the virus (i.e., last incidence of unprotected sex, sharing of needles, etc.) to develop enough antibodies to be detected by the HIV antibody test. Because of this "Window Period," re-testing may be necessary for people who have been potentially exposed within the window period.
Who are the HIV Test Counselors?
HIV test counselors are student volunteers who are extensively trained on all aspects of HIV test counseling. If you would prefer to have a professional staff member as your counselor, please request one when scheduling your appointment.