World AIDS Day is celebrated worldwide every year on December 1. It is an opportunity to remember those who have passed on, celebrate victories in the realms of treatment and prevention, and raise awareness of the disease.
This year, the theme of World AIDS Day is “Leading with Science, Uniting with Action,” which reflects the United States’ government’s commitment to scientific research and breakthroughs that can help reach the goal of having an “AIDS-free generation.” An “AIDS-free generation” means that virtually no children would be born with HIV; that prevention tools would evolve so that when this generation reaches its teenage years, it is at much less of a risk of contracting HIV; and that if they do contract HIV, they will have access to advanced treatments that help them prevent passing the virus on to others and having it develop into full-blown AIDS.
World AIDS Day serves as a good reminder to get tested if you don’t know your HIV status and, if you are HIV-positive, to be proactive and talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Not sure where to get tested? Use these resources to help you find the most convenient testing site for you.
If you’d like to get tested by someone you already know and are comfortable with, you can get tested for HIV by your primary care physician.
If you would rather not go to your family doctor for HIV testing, there are numerous clinics nationwide that can administer HIV testing. You can use the following resources to locate a clinic near you:
- The AIDS Service Organization provides the ASO Finder, which you can use to locate resources for testing and counseling.
- HIVtest.org can also help you find a testing location.
- You can also test yourself using FDA-approved self-test kits such as those made by Home Access, which are available in drugstores and pharmacies, although you’ll want to note that self-testing doesn’t give you the benefit of pre- and post-test counseling.
It can take up to six months for HIV to be able to be detected during testing. If you get tested before six months have passed since the last time you engaged in any activity during which you were at risk for contracting HIV, you should test again once that six month mark has passed so that you are 100% sure that your test results are accurate
While the thought of getting tested for HIV can be scary, what’s even scarier is not knowing your HIV status. One in five Americans living with HIV is unaware that they have it; those people are not getting the care and treatment they need for HIV, and they’re also at risk of unknowingly infecting their sexual partners or anyone with whom they use recreational drugs. So don’t delay–use World AIDS Day as a reminder to make your health a priority and get tested for HIV.