Many people cringe at the thought of HIV testing, but only way to tell if you have HIV is to get tested for it. There are so many benefits of getting tested! Some benefits include:
- Early detection reduces morbidity
- Knowledge helps prevent others from becoming infected
- Gives the opportunity for those with HIV to get the treatment they need
Who Should Be Tested?
In a word: everyone. Yes, there are some people who have a higher risk and should definitely get tested if they have:
- Had sex without a condom
- Shared needles when injecting drugs
- Put themselves at risk for HIV or think they might have
However, everyone should make HIV testing part of their sexual health and know their status.
Fast and Easy
HIV testing is quick and can be done for free through many community organizations, such as AIDS Resource. It is truly the only way to know if you’ve been infected with HIV. HIV testing can be performed via a quick saliva or blood test.
Check out the information on our HIV testing services here.
Better to Know
Most people avoid HIV testing because they are afraid of what they might find out. Ignoring a the possibility of HIV doesn’t change your status and can delay getting treatment that can drastically improve your health and quality of life.
Being worried about HIV testing is completely normal, but it really is the only way to know where you stand. By doing HIV testing, you ease your worries.
It is always better to know your status. It doesn’t matter if your results are positive or negative, you are able to move on with your life and, if necessary, begin treatment.
Positive Result and Treatment
Being diagnosed with HIV at an early stage means you can immediately access treatment. This will enable you to live a long and healthy life.
HIV attacks your immune system. By starting treatment as early as possible, you will decrease the damage done by the virus. You are then able to protect your immune system and avoid prolonged illnesses that HIV can make worse.
Treatment can give people living with HIV a lifespan similar to an average person. Take control of your health by including HIV testing in your normal health routine.
Healthy Sexual Partners
By doing HIV testing, you are able to help keep your sexual partners healthy. Knowing you are HIV positive means you can always use a condom when having sex, thereby protecting your partner’s health.
Starting and staying on antiretroviral treatment will help to reduce the levels of HIV in your body. This makes it less likely you will pass HIV on to others. Effective antiretroviral treatment can lower the level of virus in your body so low it becomes mostly ‘undetectable’. When this is confirmed by a healthcare professional, you can no longer pass HIV on to your partners.
Is HIV Testing Ever Mandatory?
Participation in HIV testing is a very personal decision and one that should be made by you alone. There are a few instances where HIV testing may be mandatory.
Certain countries require proof of HIV testing before they will issue a visa for you to enter their country.
Some insurance companies and employers (the armed forces for example) will require HIV testing as well.
HIV testing should involve your full consent, it should be completely confidential, should involve a discussion with a healthcare professional, will give you a result (positive or negative), and, depending upon the result, give you access to treatment.
If you are confused about HIV testing, take a moment to speak with your healthcare professional in order to get your questions answered. Or if you prefer, contact us here!