HIV test cost is a serious issue for many people and testing can be expensive. But cost shouldn’t be a reason to completely avoid testing. Whether you test in-person at a clinic or choose to test from home, the key is simply to get tested. The actual cost will depend on how and where you are being tested, so it’s up to you to determine what testing options work best for you. Early detection can stop the spread of HIV among unknowing carriers and their partners.
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 tests for HIV. At myLAB Box, we recommend that everyone screens for all of the major STIs at least once each year. “Even if you don’t think you’re at risk for HIV, it is still important that you get tested,” says Lora Ivanova, CMO and Co-Founder of myLAB Box. “If you are sexually active, you are at risk. The more of us who know our status, the easier it will become to stop the spread of infection and even save lives.”
In-Person HIV Testing
The traditional method of testing is to head to a doctor’s office or clinic. The exact cost will vary with location and insurance use. Walmart offers free HIV testing in the days leading up to National HIV Awareness Day. Planned Parenthood also offers HIV testing with cost on a sliding scale based on income. The Aids Healthcare Foundation opened a number of thrift stores across the US called Out of the Closet Thrift Stores that offer free HIV testing. 96 cents for every dollar spent at these stores goes to HIV/AIDS services provided by the AHF.
It is worth noting that HIV clinics are not like a normal medical facility. HIV clinics typically employ people who have an in-depth understanding of HIV. This includes its physical effects, but also the psychological and social effects of the virus. It is run by and for people who won’t pass judgment and where myths and stigmas surrounding the virus are actively discouraged. The primary goal of an HIV clinic is not only patient care, but also education and research in regards to the virus, its contraction and treatment.
HIV clinics take confidentiality very seriously. Confidentiality is a primary concern for anyone visiting an HIV clinic and the staff is highly aware of this. They will take your privacy into consideration in all patient correspondence. They won’t leave identifying voicemail messages for you, and they will not mail any correspondence in recognizable envelopes. They will also listen to and respect any special considerations you might have in regards to confidentiality.
Home HIV Testing
The cost of an individual HIV test kit from myLAB Box is $79. Depending on your financial situation, you might prefer a combination panel kits that allow you to test for multiple common infections, including HIV, with a single sample set. These options are more affordable than paying for each test individually and will also give you a broader sense of your overall health.
Testing with myLAB Box does not require insurance. The cost is typically about half of the out-of-pocket price that you would pay at a medical facility. myLAB Box is also the first home Testing-to-Treatment service. We provide access to professional STD counselors and physicians in your state via telemedicine. This is free of charge if you ever test positive using our service.
HIV Test Results
If you test positive for HIV and then take the prescribed medications after your diagnosis, there is no reason you shouldn’t continue to lead a perfectly happy and healthy life. If you test negative but are considered at high risk for HIV, you may want to consider PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). This medication allows an HIV-negative person to have a healthy relationship with an HIV-positive person. It’s not perfect, but it can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 92%.
- Ekwueme DU, Pinkerton SD, Holtgrave DR, et al. Cost comparison of three HIV counseling and testing technologies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. August 2003.
- Paltiel AD, Weinstein MC, Kimmel AD, et al. Expanded Screening for HIV in the United States — An Analysis of Cost-Effectiveness. New England Journal of Medicine. February 2005.
- Wright AA, Katz IT. Home Testing for HIV. New England Journal of Medicine. February 2006.