for Veterans and the Public
Should you get tested?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults in the United States get tested for HIV infection at least once, regardless of risk factors for HIV infection, and that they be tested repeatedly if there is an ongoing risk of HIV infection.
The VA also recommends that all Veterans be tested at least once, even those Veterans who do not think that they have risk factors. That way, people who are infected will be diagnosed early and can get the most benefits from treatment. They also can take steps to avoid spreading the infection to others. For example, a woman who tests positive for HIV during a pregnancy can take medication to help prevent her baby from becoming infected. Or, a man who thought he was HIV negative but finds out he is infected can take steps to avoid infecting his sex partner.
In the past, doctors and other health care providers usually tested for HIV if patients had symptoms that might indicate an immune deficiency or if there was something in the their medical history that suggested they might be at increased risk for the virus.