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Tuberculosis Testing

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.


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

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

Who should be tested?

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

TB skin test

The TB skin test tells you if the TB bacteria are in your body. Your healthcare provider puts 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, or as told by your healthcare provider, you’ll be asked to return to the office. Be sure to keep this appointment. Your test results will be looked at 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.


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