When it comes to HIV, the only way to be certain of your status is to get tested. And while getting tested can feel like an intimidating or downright scary experience, not getting tested isn’t an option. If you’ve never been tested for HIV or are still deciding here are 5 reason you should:
- It’s always better to know. Finding out that you have been infected with HIV is a scary prospect to think about. Especially when you’re uninformed and aren’t sure what a diagnosis like that means. Fear stops many people from taking the steps to get tested but the truth is, it’s always better to know whether you have been infected so that you can take the necessary course of action to take control of your health. If you find out you have HIV, you can begin early treatments, extend your life, live healthier, and reduce the possibility of spreading the infection to others.
- You can begin treatment if infected.The sooner you get tested for HIV, the sooner you can begin getting treatment if you are infected. Early treatment can have a tremendous impact on the way that HIV affects your body and your quality of life. If you are diagnosed early enough, you can begin taking medications that can help protect your immune system which can prevent a lot of the complications that come along with the virus when it’s undiagnosed and untreated.
- To protect your sexual partners.Whether you have multiple partners, are in a committed relationship, or still searching for the one, knowing your HIV status is important when it comes to protecting yourself, your partner, and reducing the possibility of spreading HIV to others. If you have HIV this is something to be transparent about with your partner and if you don’t this is still a discussion that needs to take place so that you can be aware of their status. Protection is key and getting tested is the first step.
- It’s a good health practice.Even if you’ve been tested before and received a negative result, regular HIV testing is a good health practice to consider. It’s important to protect yourself during sexual intercourse and to avoid other risk factors of HIV, but if you’re sexually active, making it a point to get tested annually or semiannually if you feel you may have been exposed is a great way to stay on top of your status and in control of your health.
- It’s quick and usually free. When it comes to HIV testing, the barriers to just getting it done are few and far between. Most HIV tests only involve swabbing saliva or a quick blood tests to determine whether the infection is present or not. And there are many places and opportunities that allow you to get tested for free. Quick and free means there’s literally nothing standing in your way to getting tested and knowing your status.
If you want to know more about HIV testing and screening visit NLM.