Tuesday, June 27 is National HIV Testing Day and there are five reasons you need to know your status. In Atlanta, and across the country, medical providers are making it convenient to get tested for HIV and STDs, so that everyone can know their status.
Atlanta has been deemed a “high impact” city for new cases of HIV infections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that about 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know it. Millennials are the most likely to be unaware of their HIV infection. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. It is important to know your status.
Here are five reasons everyone should be tested:
- HIV is not just a gay disease: It is true that gay and bisexual men have a greater chance of contracting HIV than the general population. However, if you are a heterosexual between the ages of 13 to 64 and having unprotected sex, you are susceptible to contracting HIV or an STD. Do not assume that everything is OK, go get tested today.
- If you are a Black female, you should get tested: HIV infections among women, especially Black women are on the rise. It is imperative for Black women to know their status as well as their partner’s. The CDC reports that one in 32 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV compared to one in 106 Latinas, and one in 526 White women. It is recommended that you and your partner get an annual HIV test. If your partner does not get tested, it may be a good idea to consider using condoms for peace of mind.
- HIV among people 50 and older: Believe it or not, sexually active people over 50 have the same risk factors as younger people. Unprotected sex can increase your chances of contracting HIV or any other STD. The CDC states that older Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection later in the course of their disease which can increase their chances of developing AIDS.
- HIV tests are quick fast and painless: Let’s be honest, most people are fearful of the dreaded needle. There was a time that testing for HIV or any STD was an inconvenience. Today, many providers can test in various ways; there are saliva-based tests as well as finger pricks. If you are concerned about confidentiality, there are home kits available like OraQuick HIV in-home saliva kit.
- Knowing your status can prevent HIV: By taking a few minutes to know your status, you can protect yourself from getting or spreading an infectious disease. Mercy Care of Atlanta has partnered with Walgreen’s for three days of testing — June 27, 28 and 29 from 3 p.m. to 7 each day. Also, talk to your health care provider about your status or take the time to check at locations in your local area. Know your status — testing is just a click away!
To find a testing site near you,
- use the CDC Doing It testing locator,
- text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or
- call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).