• HIV is a virus that damages the immune system.
  • HIV can be spread during condomless vaginal or anal sex and by sharing needles or other equipment used for injection drug use. See more information about HIV transmission.
  • There are highly effective treatments to prevent and treat HIV.
  • Anyone 13-64 years old should have at least one HIV test.
  • Anyone with an STD or a diagnosis of TB should get tested for HIV.
  • People who are pregnant should be tested as early as possible in pregnancy and should discuss repeat testing with their health care provider.
  • Annual testing is recommended for people with a sex partner living with HIV or a partner who injects drugs; people entering a new sexual relationship; people with multiple sex partners; and people who inject drugs.
  • Men or transwomen who have sex with men should be tested at least once a year and should consider testing up to every 3 months.
  • People taking HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) should be tested every 3 months.
  • People who take HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be retested at 6 and 12 weeks after an exposure to HIV.
  • Blood tests done in a lab are the best tests for HIV and have the shortest delay in finding HIV after you get it.
  • HIV testing can be done with a quick (often 20 minutes or less) finger stick blood sample. If that test is positive, an additional blood draw is needed to confirm the result in a lab.
  • We offer an oral swab HIV test. This test is not as sensitive as a blood test, but you can do it at home in 20 minutes.
  • If you have a positive home HIV test:
    • A positive test doesn’t mean that you definitely have HIV. See OraQuick test information.  
    • If your home test is positive, you will need to go to a clinic and have a lab HIV test. If the lab test is positive, clinic and HIV Linkage to Care staff will help you get care and treatment to maintain good health.
    • You should contact our HIV Linkage to Care staff (303-602-3652) or the Denver Sexual Health Clinic (303-602-3540) if you need more information or help getting additional testing.
    • Follow the instructions from your health care provider about when you can have sex again.
    • Keep in mind:  HIV is treatable. People living with HIV can live full, long lives. When HIV medications are used as directed, they can lower the HIV virus levels to undetectable in the blood. When a person has an undetectable virus level on HIV medications, there is no risk of passing HIV to sex partners (undetectable=untransmittable, U=U).
  • If you have a negative home HIV test:
    • You probably don’t have HIV, but it can be hard to detect HIV early after you get it, especially in the first 3 months.
    • If you have been exposed to HIV in the last 3 months, you should consider getting a lab HIV test and talking to a health care provider.
    • Check the "Who should get tested for HIV?" section above to see when you should get your next test.
  • You can reduce your risk of HIV by reducing your number of sex partners, abstinence, using a condom every time you have sex, taking HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and avoiding sharing needles or equipment for injection drugs.
  • HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is effective to prevent HIV if you think you may have future exposures to HIV.
  • HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is effective if used within 72 hours after an exposure to HIV. Your health care provider may be able to provide PEP, or you can contact the Denver Sexual Health Clinic (303) 602-3540 or go to an urgent/emergency care clinic. 
  • Call the Denver Sexual Health Clinic (303-602-3540) to be scheduled for a PrEP telehealth visit or an in-clinic visit for PrEP or PEP.
  • Contact our Linkage to Care team at (303) 602-3652.
  • Search Care Near You.