HIV Testing and Prevention

 

 

Getting to know your HIV status is important for your health, your relationships, your life and your future.

The growth of new infections continues to pose serious health risks. People who are infected with HIV tend to spread HIV infection because 20% of those infected are unaware of their HIV status. Those undiagnosed 20% are responsible for up to 70% of the new infections each year.

The fact is that HIV is preventable, and you can reduce or eliminate your risk. And early detection can lead to early treatment and better outcomes. Many people live long, normal lives with early detection and proper care, because the advancements in HIV options have been significant.

How often you should get tested for HIV depends on your circumstances. If you have never been tested for HIV, you should be tested at least once. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends being tested at least once a year if you do things that can result in HIV infection. These include:

  • Sex (vaginal, oral or anal) with multiple sex partners
  • Sex with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status you don’t know
  • Sex between a man and another man
  • Using illegal injected drugs or steroids
  • Shared needles or syringes
  • Exchanging sex for money
  • A diagnosis or treatment for hepatitis, tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted disease like syphilis

If you have been exposed to events that could result in HIV infection, you should test 3 months after the event. If you feel you are at risk of being infected with HIV, it is a good idea to test regularly.

On HIV Prevention; use condoms the right way every time you have sex or your partner can take PrEP. PrEP is usually taken by a HIV-negative person who is at risk of HIV infection to reduce their risk of getting HIV by taking antiretroviral drugs. PrEP reduces the risk of the sexual transmission of HIV in combination with safer sex practices for people at high risk of HIV infection. Use of oral PrEP involves regular medical appointments for monitoring and support. Oral PrEP is a highly effective HIV prevention strategy when used consistently and correctly.

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