Tuberculosis Testing

Tuberculosis Testing

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Tuberculosis Testing


Whether you have active TB disease or simply test positive for TB infection, you must see a healthcare professional for evaluation and treatment.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that spreads through the air. It can cause serious health problems. TB is on the rise. To protect your health, get tested.

Palm view of hand and forearm showing red bump on forearm.

Who Should Be Tested?

Anyone can be exposed to TB. However, certain people are at higher risk for exposure, especially healthcare professionals, the homeless, and people coming from countries with high TB rates. People whose bodies are less able to fight off infections, such as the elderly and people with HIV and AIDS, are also more likely to get TB. If you’re at risk for exposure, get tested regularly.

The TB Skin Test

The TB skin test tells you if the tuberculosis bacteria are in your body. Your healthcare professional places a small amount of solution under the skin with a needle to see if a reaction occurs. Keep in mind that although many people are infected with TB, very few develop TB disease.

Getting Your TB Test Results

Within 2–3 days after the test, you’ll be asked to return to your healthcare professional. Be sure to keep this appointment. Your test results will be evaluated during this visit. In some cases, a second test may be done to confirm results.

What Do the Test Results Mean?

  • Negative results mean you likely don’t have the TB bacteria in your body.

  • Positive results mean that you may have been infected with the TB bacteria. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have active TB disease. More tests, such as chest x-rays, are needed to find out if you have TB disease.