Photo Credit: cdc.gov
June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. Knowing your HIV status is an important part of your sexual, and overall, health. About 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and 1 in 7 of the don't know it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person's immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live
What is PrEP?
PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%. PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.
What Can You Do?
Get the Facts. Learn about HIV, and share this information with your family, friends, and community. If you are living with HIV, you should start treatment as soon as possible. HIV medicines can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting the virus if you take it the right way, every day. If you're HIV-negative, you can take steps to prevent HIV. For example, try talking to your health care provider about pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, a medicine that can greatly reduce one's risk of contracting the virus.
Get Tested. Get tested for HIV and talk to your health care provider about HIV testing. Knowing your status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner(s) healthy. To find a free, fast, and confidential testing location near you visit gettested.cdc.gov
Reach Out. If you have any questions about where is the safest place to get tested, what the process is like, or if you just need someone to talk to about maybe getting tested today, tomorrow, next week, or whenever you feel it right for you, don't hesitate and reach out to us.