June 27th, is National HIV Testing Day. The theme this year is “Knowing”. This theme focuses on knowing your HIV status, different ways to take an HIV test, treatment options, prevention options. With in-person contact limited, reach out to your local healthcare provider about self-testing as an option to know your status.
Why should I get tested?
Testing is the only way to know if you have HIV. It is normal to feel nervous, but knowing your results will allow you to take control of your heath and protect your partner. If you test positive, you can take medications to treat and manage HIV. Taking medication as prescribed can make the amount of HIV in your blood (viral load) very low that even a test can’t detect it. If your viral load stays undetectable, you cannot transmit HIV to your partner. If you test negative, there are more ways than ever to protect you and your partner.
Do I need to get tested?
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once even if you don’t have a higher chance of getting HIV. If you have a higher chance of getting HIV, testing should be more often.
Who has a higher chance of getting HIV?
You have a higher chance of getting HIV if you:
- Are sexually active gay or bisexual man
- Have sex – anal or vaginal – with someone who has HIV
- Inject drugs or share needles
- Recently treated for an STI
I am pregnant; do I need to get tested?
If you are pregnant, you should get tested for HIV. If you test positive, you can begin treatment right away to reduce your chance of transmitting HIV to your baby. With treatment, the chance of your baby getting HIV is less than 1%.
How is HIV tested?
HIV testing is done by taking blood from either your vein or a finger prick, or an oral swab.
How soon will I get my results?
Blood tests are sent to a lab and can take several days for the results. Finger prick tests take 30 minutes or less for results and oral swab results can be quickly as 20 minutes.
How soon can I get tested if I think I may have been exposed?
No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after infection. In general, tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner than blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, talk to your healthcare provider about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), right away.
Take control of your health and get tested today at a healthcare provider near you!