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June 27th is National HIV Testing Day.

Submitted by Get Healthy Heights on June 21, 2017 at 12:44pm.
Get Healthy Heights

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. Each year on June 27th health organizations around the country raise awareness about the importance of getting tested for HIV. Over a million people in the United States have HIV and 1 in 7 of them do not know it. An early diagnosis of HIV can help people get linked to care and treatment and prevent the spread of HIV.

Who should get tested?

The CDC recommendation is that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. However, there are some people that are more at risk and should be tested at least once a year. For example, sexually active gay and bisexual men are at higher risk and would benefits from being tested every 3 to 6 months.

How can I get tested?

There are more ways than ever to get tested. You can see your primary care provider, find a free clinic, go to a testing event or to a local organization, and even get tested at home.

If you are looking for a testing site, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a locator tool where you can find a testing site. To find a testing site near you click here.

What should you do if you have tested positive?

If you have already tested positive, you should start treatment as soon as possible. HIV medicines can help you stay healthy for many years. They can also greatly lower the chance of passing the virus on to someone else if you take them every day.

How can you prevent HIV?

If you are HIV negative, here are some steps you can take to remain that way:

  • Limit the number of sexual partners: Having fewer partners lowers your chances of having sex with someone who has HIV or another STD.
  • Never share needles: People who inject drugs, hormones, steroids, or silicone can get HIV by sharing needles or syringes and other injection equipment. 
  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex: If you use condoms every time you have sex, they are highly effective in preventing HIV. But it’s important to know how to use them the right way.
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP: PrEP is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected.
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP: PEP means taking HIV medicines after being exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.
  • Abstinence: Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. 
  • Get tested regularly: The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested regularly. 

 

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healthcare health conditions