According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly one in five persons with HIV doesn’t know he or she is infected, and can pass the virus on to others without knowing it. Getting an HIV test, knowing your HIV status, and encouraging your friends, family, and community to do the same are important steps in preventing the spread of HIV.
Talk with your friends and family about getting tested and protecting themselves. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Testing once a year (or more) is recommended for people at higher risk of HIV infection, such as those who are gay, bisexual, men who have sex with men (MSM), injection drug users, or people with multiple sex partners.
Here are three good reasons for you to get an HIV test.
Finding out early can help you live a longer, healthier life. There are treatments now that are available to you that can keep you healthy. You can find support, so that you stay connected to care.
1. If you know, you can protect yourself—and the people you love. The earlier you know, the more you can do. There’s new hope today for stopping HIV. Medicines (antiretroviral therapy or ART) can lower the level of virus in the body. ART helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and also lowers the chances of passing HIV to others. Knowing early enables you to help yourself and to protect others. Studies have shown that when people find out they have HIV, they are also more likely to take steps to protect their health and that of their partners.
2. It’s easy. It’s free, fast, and confidential. Many clinics and testing locations in your area offer free HIV tests. You can even get confidential or anonymous HIV tests. To find out where you can get a free HIV test in your area, do one of the following:
- Use the site locator at http://hivtest.cdc.gov. Enter your ZIP code, and the locator will find a testing site near you.
- Text your local ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948), and you will receive a text back with a testing site near you.
- Call 800–CDC–INFO (800–232–4636) to ask for free testing sites in your area.