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Mental & physical health

Get tested for tuberculosis

The Tuberculosis Control Program provides free testing and medical evaluation for tuberculosis (TB).

Tests are available for both children and adults, even if you don’t have insurance.

Who should get a test

You should get tested for TB if you have symptoms of active TB disease. These may include:

  • A bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Weakness.
  • Weight loss, and other symptoms.

You should also get tested if you:

  • Spent time with a person known or suspected to have active TB.
  • Have HIV or another condition that weakens the immune system.
  • Are from a country where active TB is very common.
  • Inject drugs.
  • Live where active TB is more common, such as a:
    • Homeless shelter.
    • Migrant farm camp.
    • Prison or jail.
    • Nursing home.

You can use your test results to meet school, job, or immigration requirements.

Types of TB tests

You can be tested for TB with a skin test or a blood test. Ask your healthcare provider which TB test is best for you.

Skin tests

The skin test requires two visits to a healthcare provider. On the first visit, the provider injects a small amount of testing fluid into your forearm. On the second visit, the provider measures your skin’s reaction to the injection.

Blood tests

The blood test only requires one visit to a healthcare provider. Your provider draws a small amount of blood and sends it to a laboratory for analysis. Blood tests are the preferred tests for people who:

  • May have trouble returning for a second visit.
  • Have received bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine against TB. This is rare in the United States, but many people born in other countries have had BCG vaccines.

Where and when to get a test

Most healthcare providers can refer patients for TB testing.

You can get a TB test at a City health center if you don’t have a primary care provider or health insurance.

The Lawrence F. Flick Memorial Center also provides TB testing by appointment only. Tests are offered from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday. Call (215) 685-6873 to schedule.

Lawrence F. Flick Memorial Center
Constitution Health Plaza
1930 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145

How to get TB treatment

If you’ve tested positive for TB, your medical provider can refer you to the Tuberculosis Control Program.