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National HIV Testing Day- June 27. By Our Student Pharmacist, Stephanie Brokaw.



Although there still is not a vaccine available to prevent the transmission of HIV or a cure for the disease, many advancements have been made in terms of testing, treatment, and taking medications to prevent contraction of the disease.

Since 1995, June 27 has been marked as National HIV Testing Day in an effort to encourage people to get tested, know their status, and seek treatment or preventative care if applicable1.

HIV is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sexual activity or needle/syringe use2. HIV can live in a used needle up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors2.

In 2018, there were 37,968 people newly diagnosed with HIV in the United States and there are an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States2.


If you are sexually active, you should get tested at least once a year for all STDs, including HIV2. Testing is the only way to know your true status of whether you are HIV positive or negative2. HIV testing is covered by your health insurance for no co-pay as required by the Affordable Care Act and some testing sites may offer free tests to those who do not have insurance2.


There are three types of test available:

  • nucleic acid test
  • antigen/antibody tests
  • antibody tests

The nucleic acid test is not routinely used for screening because of cost2.

The antigen/antibody test is performed by drawing blood from a vein or a finger prick2.

The HIV antibody test can be conducted with blood from a vein or fingerstick or from oral fluids2.

Most results can be seen within 30 minutes to 2 hours, but some tests may take up to 2 days2. No test can detect HIV immediately after infection; most tests can detect HIV 23 days or more after exposure2. If you believe you were exposed to HIV, post exposure prophylactic medication can be taken (start within 72 hours of exposure) to reduce the risk of contracting the disease2.

If you do not wish to go to a clinic for testing, you can perform testing at home with a rapid self-test called OraQuick, which is available upon request next business day at any of our pharmacies for $43.29.

 Columbus Resources

Free HIV testing is available at many clinics in Columbus. You can find a clinic near you using this link. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many testing sites may be by appointment only, so make sure you call ahead.






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