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8. What is confidential HIV testing?

HIV antibody testing can also be ordered through a private physician, some clinics, and hospitals.

If you give your name, even if the test site says your name is known only to them and not the lab, the test is confidential, not anonymous.

Confidential antibody testing means that you and the health care provider know your results, which may be recorded in your medical file. 

There are also testing sites that offer confidential testing.

Some physicians might agree to omit the test results from the medical file.

In some cases, doctors have been known to keep separate files, one for the insurance companies and one for private use with the patient.

However, this is probably risky for the doctor.

Some reasons for confidential testing are:

  1. A written result is required for immigration purposes or for some international travel visas.
  2. A pregnant woman who is clearly at risk might choose to be tested through her doctor, rather than anonymously, since the result is of key importance to the course of her medical care.
  3. Potentially faster linkage to medical care.

You may simply choose to not go to the anonymous testing site, and that is certainly your option.

Some people may want written results for the wrong reasons, e.g. to be a "card-carrying HIV-negative sexual partner."

We discourage this reasoning, as no written test result can accurately indicate a person’s negative HIV status: remember the three to six month window period, and the fact that someone could have been exposed to HIV after being tested.

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