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HIV Status

Know your HIV Status. Get tested.

In this Q&A about HIV testing, Patrick Coleman, M.D. highlights the importance of knowing your HIV status.

Why is HIV testing so important?

HIV testing is important because it is so prevalent in the United States and around the world. It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the U.S. are carrying the virus, and 1 in 8 people (12.8 percent) of those people do not know. It is important to find out to get early treatment in order to stay healthy.

HIV testing in Georgia

Is there more than one type of HIV test?

There is more than one type of HIV test, but the most common tests involve checking for the HIV antibody. The most utilized kind now is a simple blood test, and the second is an oral swab. The oral swabs currently in the pharmacies are sent to a lab for a quick turnaround result the next day. The FDA has just approved one oral swab home test for results in 20 minutes. This is the same oral test that is used in many medical practices. All these tests have a high degree of sensitivity meaning that the test will pick up around 95 percent of positive cases.

Who should be tested for HIV?

Anyone who is sexually active should be tested yearly regardless of their relationship status. People in higher risk groups may need to be tested more frequently.

Why do you think some people are afraid to be tested?

Many people are afraid to be tested because they may be concerned about getting a positive result. The memory of not having adequate medicine and poor outcomes lingers in many people’s minds, but that should no longer be the case. Also, the social misunderstanding of people living with HIV could be a factor in someone's hesitation to be tested.

Isn’t it true that if someone does test positive for HIV, proper treatment and care can help them live long, healthy lives?

Yes. We now have many great and effective medicines that allow people living with HIV to live normal and healthy lives. HIV has become a chronic illness that we treat with medicines much like diabetes or hypertension. As long as they manage this with medical compliance, they should live regular healthy lives.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Please get tested!

For more information about HIV and Aids

visit or You can also call the Centers for Disease and Prevention CDC-INFO line at

1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)

TTY access 1


CDC-INFO is staffed with people trained to answer your questions in a prompt and confidential manner in English or Spanish, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday. Staff at CDC-INFO can offer a wide variety of written materials and put you in touch with organizations in your area that deal with HIV and AIDS.

Dr. Coleman practices at Piedmont Physicians Atlantic Station, located at 232 19th Street Northwest, Suite 7220, Atlanta, GA 30363. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Coleman or one of our other primary care providers. Save time, book online.

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