There are several different types of HIV tests. Often a small sample of blood is taken and analysed in a laboratory. Other tests give an initial rapid result using finger-prick blood, or even saliva. It’s often possible to get a test result the same day.
The tests used today can usually tell if a person has HIV within a month of their infection. In the past you might have had to wait three months to be certain that your test result is accurate.
Usually, when you go for an HIV test, you will have an opportunity to talk to someone first, so you can ask any questions you might have. The person doing the test will explain how the test works and how you will get the results.