WHY SHOULD YOU
It's the only way to know for sure if you are HIV-positive.
If you're positive, you can find out how the virus can be treated with medication.
Knowing can also help you prevent HIV from spreading, by practicing safe sex.
Who should get tested? Everyone.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once. There are certain behaviors that put you at a greater risk for contracting HIV—including having unprotected vaginal or anal sex, or sharing needles to inject drugs. If you do any of these things, you should be tested right away, and again every 3 to 6 months.
There are an estimated
new HIV infections per year.*
*As of 2010.
Source: US Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.aids.gov.
When should you
If you're at risk, you should get tested as soon as you can. You should also be retested if you've had unprotected sex or shared a needle with someone. Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should be tested.
How can you
There are a lot of ways to get the test done:
- You can ask a healthcare provider for an HIV test
- You can ask if your healthcare provider, local clinic, hospital or community health center does testing
- You can go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources and enter your ZIP code to find locations
- You can call 800-CDC-INFO (800‑232‑4636) for free testing sites near you
- You can use a home HIV test that you can find in most pharmacies or online
Getting test results
If your test comes back positive
Take a deep breath. Being diagnosed with HIV today is different than it used to be. It's possible to live a long, healthy life. Just take it one step at a time.
Step 1HIV tests are usually very accurate, but if your result is positive, then you'll be given a follow-up test to make sure the diagnosis is right.
Step 2Find a healthcare provider who will be your partner in helping you stay healthy. If you need an HIV specialist, start here.
Step 3Find an AIDS Service Organization (ASO) with professionals who will help you find answers, medical care, financial assistance, and other important services.
Step 4Talk to your healthcare provider about treatment. It's been proven that starting treatment early can help you live a longer, healthier life.
- HIV treatments can help lower the amount of virus in your blood (viral load)
- You can get your viral load to be "undetectable" with treatment
- People with HIV can live long, positive lives
- There are people out there who care and understand
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The Stigma Around HIV
The Stigma Around HIV
Watch out for changes in your mood
People living with HIV are more at risk for developing depression or anxiety. These conditions are treatable, so make sure you talk to your healthcare provider or counselor.
If your test comes back negative
A negative result is really good news, and it's also a great reason to keep being safe. There are still some things you should do:
Step 1If you have a negative result, ask your healthcare provider if you need to be tested again, and when.
Step 2Ask your partner(s) to get tested too, so you know their status.
Step 3Make HIV testing a regular part of how you stay healthy.
One of the best things you can do for your friends is encourage them to get tested, too. Go with them for support.
Find HIV resources in your area.