You can find out if you currently have COVID by taking a diagnostic test that checks specimens from your nose or mouth.
There are two types of diagnostic tests:
- Molecular tests, including NAAT (Nucleic acid amplification test) or RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase chain reaction) test, detect genetic material from the virus. Molecular tests are more sensitive than antigen tests but may take longer time until you get a result (several hours to a couple of days).
- Antigen tests detect specific proteins from the virus. Antigen test can be less expensive and return results more rapidly. However, they are less sensitive than molecular tests and may give false negative results – in other words, the test could not find the virus but in fact, you have COVID.
Both types of tests are available from a healthcare or public health provider or via at-home testing kits.
Your choice of test may also depend on your workplace requirements, or requirements for travel within or outside of the U.S. For travel requirements, refer to CDC Guidelines for Travel
Learning if you currently have COVID or not is the first and most important step to protect others around you.
For more information, see: