What is the difference between an Anonymous and Confidential HIV Test?

Anonymous and confidential HIV tests use the same testing method. The only difference is that one does not have your name attached to the results.

Anonymous: HIV antibody testing is available at anonymous HIV test sites in some California counties. Anonymous testing means that absolutely no one other than you has access to your test results since your name is not recorded at the test site. It is always a good idea to contact the testing clinic directly to confirm what type of test is available.

Confidential: HIV antibody testing means that you and the health care provider know your results, and it may be recorded in your medical file at the testing site. Some clinics offer confidential testing to make it easier for the patient to access their own results at a later date, or to make it easier to track the number of unique new cases that are being found. In some places, the government requires confidential instead of anonymous as a condition of funding. This makes it easier for agencies to distinguish new HIV infections from cases of someone testing positive in multiple locations.

Even if the testing facility does not offer anonymous testing, your test results are protected by HIPAA regulations, which require health facilities to tightly protect your medical records so that only you and authorized people may see them.

Learn more in the article: "HIV Testing." 

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