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Anonymous, Confidential, Regular Testing a clinic... Which is best?
Oct 29, 2005

Hello Dr. Bob, I have been wanting to go test for quite some time now but don't know which testing to choose. I am afraid of testing positive and losing any chance for Insurance should I lose my current job.

Whats the difference between Anonymous and Confidential and Regular Clinic Testing? What are the pro's and con's? Which would you recommend I do?

Anxiously waiting your answer so I can go get tested!

Thanks!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Anonymous HIV testing means that no names are provided when the test is performed. Instead the person being tested is given a unique identifier code. This means you and only you know your test results and absolutely no one even knows you've had the test performed. Anonymous testing is not available in all states.

Confidential testing involves recording the name of the person getting tested. The health department in most states now mandates that anyone who tests positive will have their name reported confidentially to the health department authorities. Confidentiality laws and regulations do exist that protect against disclosure of the information. However there is indeed a record and paper trail that exists that shows you've had the test performed.

Having an HIV test performed at your doctor's office is also confidential, but the results do become part of your medical record. The results can be seen by health care workers, insurers and sometimes even employers.

Each of the testing types has its own pros and cons. For instance, the cost of getting tested in your doctor's office may well be covered by your insurance plan (a "pro"). However, the insurance company will then know that you've had an HIV test and the results of your test become part of your routine medical file (a potential "con"). Getting tested anonymously does not leave any record that you were ever tested; however, the cost would not be covered by your insurance company, as they would never even know you had the test done!

As for which type of testing is best for you, that depends on your individual situation and how private you need the results to be.

Good luck with whatever testing you choose!

Dr. Bob



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