When’s the last time you got tested? Health exams are so important across the board, and HIV tests are no different. It’s free, fast, and your results are confidential. This is between you, yourself and your partners, but knowing your status has been proven to empower people to stay healthy and to protect themselves and who they love.
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested at least once according to the CDC (more frequently if you have certain risk factors). But for young people and millennials, this is especially important. Youth aged 13 to 24 account for 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses. Among those youth newly diagnosed with HIV, 80 percent of them are aged 20-24. So yes, it’s a problem that affects our generation. But young people living with HIV are the least likely to be linked to care.
Getting treatment means you’ll be able to live a long and healthy life. There are so many people who take their medicine, practice safe sex and are able to continue to accomplish their goals and do the things they love.
It’s important and rewarding to stay on top of it.
Where can you get tested?
There are plenty of places that will help you find out your status, so don’t be intimidated. June 27th is National HIV Testing Day, but you can find locations year-round here. Just enter your location and find out exactly where to go to get some peace of mind.
You have your status -- now what?
Once you find out your status, you are able to move forward accordingly. If you test negative, consider refreshing your knowledge of prevention tools to ensure you keep that status moving forward. Whether that’s healthier sex practices, condoms or even medicines to help prevent HIV, they will be able to help you to devise a plan that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle.
If you’re positive, you’ll receive information on medicine you can take to stay healthy and to lower your risk of transmitting HIV to your sexual partner.
For pregnant women who test positive, the medicines you take to stay healthy can also lower the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby.
Getting tested is the first step to taking responsibility for your status and your life. You can’t care for yourself if you don’t know what your body needs, which is where “doing it” and getting tested comes in.
There are local HIV support groups and resources as well where you can connect with others in your position and who are living and living well with HIV.
Is this really necessary?
Yes, no other way around it. Just because you don’t believe you’re high-risk, doesn’t mean there’s not a chance for you to be HIV positive. Some people who are found to be positive weren’t even aware of their risk, and taking the initiative to find out is the only way to be 100% sure. For the health and safety of you and those who you love, the only solution is to go out and get tested.
Again, it’s free. It’s confidential. And it can save your life. So why not do it?
This post was created in collaboration with the CDC.