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AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO)

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Getting Tested

HIV testing is now recommended as part of the routine standard of care for patients aged 13 to 64. Patient consent has been revised to permit an "opt-out" process where patients are told an HIV test will be performed as part of their routine lab work unless the patient specifically declines. These changes bring Pennsylvania law in line with the 2006 CDC HIV testing guidelines.

Routine HIV testing:

  • promotes earlier detection of HIV infection
  • helps prevent transmission of HIV
  • provides an opportunity to identify and counsel persons with
  • unrecognized HIV infection and link them to clinical services

All HIV screening must continue to be voluntary, undertaken only with the patient's knowledge.
Patients should be provided an opportunity to ask questions before getting tested.

Pennsylvania's revised law now provides an important tool in our fight to provide earlier clinical
care for people with HIV infection and reduce the spread of HIV.

To request patient and provider materials, HIV clinical care referral options, and technical
assistance, please email

For additional information, go to


PA Department of Health Advisory
CDC guidelines
Applying HIV Testing Guidelines in Clinical Practice (American Family Physician)

Should I Get Tested?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all persons aged 13—64 get an HIV test from their doctor.

You should get tested if you answer "yes" to any of these questions:

  • Have you injected drugs or steroids or shared equipment (such as needles, syringes, works) with others?
  • Have you had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners?
  • Have you exchanged sex for drugs or money?
  • Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), like syphilis?
  • Have you had unprotected sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions?

Health Information Hotline

Find out where you can get a free HIV test. Learn more about HIV disease and AIDS. Sign up for HIV programs and services:

Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
English and Spanish. Interpreter services are available for other languages.

Callers outside Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware or Montgomery County can reach the Hotline at 1-215-985-2437.