Why should I test for HIV?
When was the last time you got tested for HIV? If it took you a minute to remember or you can’t even remember when, it means it’s time to get the test.
Many people only get tested for HIV if they’ve recently engaged in risky behavior or if mandated during medical care yet an HIV test should be part of your routine checkup.
First, let’s agree that some people are at higher risk of contracting HIV thus they really need to religiously take the test yet this virus is transmitted in various ways so we all should take the test.
Getting tested for HIV is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting the test shows that you are serious about self-care and having responsible sex. Everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, or sexual experience, should be aware of their HIV status.
Who should undergo testing?
Anyone and everyone, including those who are:
- Sexually active
- Having or had unprotected sex with one or more people
- Injecting drugs either now or did in the past
- Having or has had sex with someone who is living with HIV
- Having or has had sex with someone to get money, food, drugs, or pads
- Having another Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
So, why is it important to get tested for HIV?
1. To know your status
So many people are having sex and do not know their HIV status. People who have unprotected intercourse and don’t know their HIV status endanger both themselves and others. Whether you are HIV positive or not, an HIV test can help you understand your risks and know your health.
2. To get necessary treatment if you test positive
You can live a long and healthy life if you diagnose with HIV early and receive treatment. Many persons living with HIV who are receiving treatment have normal lives. If you do not get tested for HIV, it does not imply you are not infected. Ignoring something does not imply it is not present. So knowing is absolutely preferable so that you may do what is necessary to continue living and enjoying your life.
3. Lowering the risk of HIV transmission to others
Finding out you’re HIV + doesn’t mean your life is over. It doesn’t imply you should stop dating or having sex. However, it does imply that you may protect yourself and your sexual partners by engaging in safe, responsible sex.
4. To end the stigma
The more we all go for regular HIV testing, the more we demonstrate to others that it’s necessary and normal to know our HIV status.
Getting tested for HIV does not mean you are living with HIV. HIV testing is available to everyone. And just because you did not take an HIV test does not indicate you are HIV negative. Knowing your HIV status empowers you to take charge of your health.
Many people living with HIV go on to enjoy long, happy, and fulfilling lives. Your HIV status does not determine who you are.
Early diagnosis and treatment are critical. Also, regardless of your HIV status, it is important to always engage in safe and responsible sex.