This is a very timely question! World AIDS Day is right around the corner—it 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.
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.
Where to Get Tested
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. (Don’t currently have a doctor lined up? If you are a Health Advocate member, call us today for help finding a local, in-network doctor.)
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.
- Send a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) or visit http://hivtest.cdc.gov/
- HIVtest.org can also help you find a testing location.
- AIDS.gov has a HIV Test Locator here: http://locator.aids.gov/
- You can also test yourself using FDA-approved self-test kits, which are available in drugstores and pharmacies. Keep in mind 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 others. So don’t delay–use World AIDS Day as a reminder to make your health a priority and get tested for HIV.
Have a question for a Health Advocate? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may answer your question in our next column!