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National HIV Testing Day: How to Know When You Should Get Tested for HIV

National HIV Testing Day: How to Know When You Should Get Tested for HIV

There are 1.2 million Americans with HIV, but it's estimated that over 160,000 of them are unaware they have it. That means 15 percent of people with HIV (or 1 in 7 people) do not currently know that they can transmit the virus. Regular HIV testing helps prevent its transmission and allows those with the virus to live longer and lead a healthier life.

National HIV Testing Day


Should I Get Tested?

In a word, yes. HIV testing is a powerful tool to protect yourself, as well as the health of your partner, or your child if you're an expectant mother. The CDC recommends that everyone ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV. They also recommend yearly testing for those meeting any of the following criteria for being at high risk of HIV infection:

  • Sex with multiple partners since your last HIV test.
  • Having anal or vagina sex with a partner who has HIV.
  • Being a man and having sex with another man.
  • Being diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted disease.
  • Being diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB).
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment while injecting drugs.
  • Exchanging sex for drugs or money.
  • Having sex with anyone who meets the above criteria without knowing their full sexual history.

In addition, expectant mothers should get tested early during pregnancy. If it's discovered that you have HIV, being treated for it early can reduce the chances of transmitting it to your child to as little as 1 percent.

Get Tested for HIV

Taking Charge of Your Health

Knowledge is a powerful tool. Knowing your HIV status can help you manage your health and protect your partner, as well as your child if you're pregnant.

In addition, your risk of HIV is not only determined by your actions. A wide range of social, economic, and demographic factors can increase your risk of getting HIV, including stigma, discrimination, income, education, and geographic region. Due to these prevailing conditions, including access to quality health care and sexual education, HIV has had a disproportionate effect on racial and ethnic minorities. Actively pursuing HIV testing helps to reduce the disease's effect on communities that are often underserved by the health care system.

Getting Tested

There are many resources available for HIV testing, including your health care provider as well as medical clinics, substance abuse programs community health centers, and hospitals. You may want to consult the following resources:

HIV testing is covered by insurance without co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

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