HIV is a serious condition and it’s important to protect yourself. Learn all about HIV, getting tested and how to protect yourself.

Here’s What You Need to Know about HIV and Getting Tested

What is HIV?

Okay you probably know what HIV is and how is spreads but there are so common misconceptions about it so lets go over the basics. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is an incurable infection that harms the body’s immune system making it difficult fight off infection. HIV spreads through sex, sharing needles and from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. HIV can cause AIDS.

 

HIV Facts and Stats

While annual HIV infection rates have decreased in recent years it is still important to be safe and get tested regularly. More than 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV and 1 in 7 don’t know it. Gay and Bisexual men are the most affected by HIV. Gay and bisexual men accounted for 82% of men diagnosed with HIV in 2015 and 67% of all diagnoses.

 

Why Get Tested

The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested. This is especially important for those who are sexually active or have shared needles. Do to the high infection rate in gay and bisexual men it is even more important to get tested.

 

How/Where do I get tested?

HIV can be tested for with a blood test or a cheek swab. Click here to find a place near you to get tested or try an at home kit like Oraquick which is FDA approved.

 

What happens if the test is positive?

If your first test comes back positive you will be given a follow up test to ensure the results are accurate. If the follow up test is also positive it is important to start treatment right away. HIV is not curable but it is treatable which is why early detection is key.

 

What if my results are negative?

Even if your results are negative it’s important to keep getting tested. It’s recommend that you get tested every 3-6 months. If you think you were exposed get tested again in 12 weeks because there is a window where HIV can be missed.

Now that you know you are negative it’s important to protect yourself. Always use condoms. If you want to ditch the condoms only do it in a monogamous relationship after you’ve both been tested.



Resources

Center for Disease Control

The STD Test Project

HIV.gov

 

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