Test results are in, now what?

No matter what the result, you can now take the next steps to being healthy. Finding treatment is really important if you tested positive. And if you’re negative, staying negative is key.

What does a “positive” or “negative” test mean? What should you do now that you know your test result?

Positive or negative? Good or bad? Here’s some info to help you make sense of your test result.

Your Test Result is “Positive”

A “positive” tests means that you likely have what you were tested for. If your first HIV test comes back positive, you should automatically be offered a confirmatory blood test to make sure that the result is correct. If the confirmatory test is also positive, you will be diagnosed as “HIV-positive”—in other words, you have HIV.

  1. If you test positive, the person giving you your test results will discuss what having HIV or another STD means for you and your health.
  2. You will be informed about how HIV or an STD can affect you and how to protect others from getting infected.
  3. Your counselor or provider should tell you about resources and treatments available to you.
  4. Finally, your counselor or provider should refer you to a medical professional for follow-up treatment, if it’s not something they can treat there.

Learn more ways to Find services.

Your Test Result is “Negative”

Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, or Syphilis

If you tested negative for gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis, fantastic! Now plan to keep it that way. Every time you have unsafe sex (sex without a condom), your test result may no longer be valid –you should get tested again. And really, think about it: more time getting tested means less time with your friends or with that hot guy you’ve started hooking up with …

The CDC recommends that you get tested if you are:

  • Sexually active.
  • Have discharge or feel a burning around your penis.
  • Have a partner who has an STD or symptoms that might be an STD.


If you tested negative for HIV, that’s great! Keep in mind that if you’ve been exposed to HIV right before your test, it’s still possible that you have HIV. It can take 2 weeks to 6 months after infection for HIV to show up on a test, or the time it takes your body to produce antibodies to fight off HIV, which is a sign of HIV. So if you have an HIV test with a negative result within 3 months of your last possible exposure to HIV, the CDC recommends that you be retested 3 months after that first screening test.

Remember, a negative HIV test result is only good for past exposure, before you took the test. If you get a negative test result, but are still engaging in high-risk behaviors, you’re still at risk for HIV.

If your test was negative, and any follow up tests (if necessary) were negative, and you haven’t been re-exposed to HIV, congratulations on taking care of yourself! Protecting yourself from HIV takes work, but it’s WORTH IT!

Keep positive about staying negative! Learn more at Play Safe.

Sources: AIDS.gov, CDC.gov, GYT Campaign