An estimated 1.2 million individuals within the U.S. dwell with HIV. However analysis reveals that lots of them — about 13% — do not know it. In accordance with the CDC, almost 40% of latest HIV infections are transmitted by individuals who don’t know they’ve the virus.
There are a number of causes which will maintain individuals again from getting an HIV take a look at. Concern of sickness, stigma, and being discriminated towards or judged negatively if a take a look at reveals that they’ve HIV are a few of the obstacles.
However getting a take a look at is step one to figuring out your standing. That’s necessary data that helps you are taking cost of your well being and forestall the viral infection that may cause AIDS.
For Kelly Gluckman of Seattle, HIV was the very last thing on her thoughts when she stopped utilizing condoms together with her associate with out first getting examined for HIV.
“I knew that that wasn’t the neatest choice,” says Gluckman, now in her 30s.
She was 23 on the time, and although she knew about HIV testing by means of complete sex schooling at school, she says as a “white, straight feminine,” she by no means noticed herself in danger for HIV. However after about 6 months of unprotected intercourse, Gluckman and her associate determined to get examined to rule out HIV as a precaution.
“We each examined constructive on Oct. 25, 2010,” Gluckman says. “We have been each fairly devastated,.”
“The rapid thought was, ‘Oh my God, I will die.’ I confronted mortality, as a result of ‘HIV turns into AIDS and you then die.’ That is simply what had been drilled into me from what I noticed within the media, and from what I realized about at school,” Gluckman says.
In hindsight, Gluckman says denial performed a job in her and her associate hesitating to get an HIV take a look at.
“We’d discuss going and getting examined after which we simply would not do it,” she says.
Many individuals nonetheless are inclined to have a “scary view” of HIV, says David Pantalone, PhD, professor of psychology at College of Massachusetts Boston. He believes it could have one thing to do with outdated photos and narratives about HIV from the ’80s.
“I believe there is not a revised public conception of what it is prefer to have HIV,” Pantalone says. “The reason being as a result of what it seems to be prefer to have HIV now’s mainly the identical because it seems to be prefer to not have HIV. The life expectancy information between HIV-positive people and HIV-negative people will not be actually that completely different.”
Whereas HIV doesn’t have a treatment, the remedy, antiretroviral remedy (ART), is very efficient. It lowers the quantity of HIV virus in your physique, or your viral load. For those who take the medication simply as your physician tells you to, the viral load can turn out to be so low that it turns into undetectable on an HIV test. When this occurs, there’s little to no likelihood of creating signs from the an infection or spreading it to others. Often, you possibly can carry HIV beneath management with medicine in just below 6 months.
Gluckman noticed constructive outcomes quickly after she began taking her treatment.
“My viral load grew to become undetectable inside 2 months,” Gluckman says, including that she had no uncomfortable side effects.
“I believed, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to dwell, I will be wholesome with this factor, with this virus.’”
The CDC recommends that everybody between ages 13 to 64 have an HIV take a look at at the very least as soon as of their life. Often, you are able to do this throughout your annual well being check-up. For those who haven’t had the take a look at, ask your physician about it.
For those who’re at greater danger, it’s worthwhile to be examined extra usually: each 3 or 6 months to make certain. However Pantalone says the shortage of testing additionally outcomes from individuals mistaking that top danger for the illness “suits inside an id” when it’s a virus unfold by frequent human conduct, like having intercourse.
“For those who’ve had any condomless intercourse with any particular person, you then want an HIV take a look at. Even when it is low danger, you must nonetheless do it periodically, since you by no means know,” Pantalone says.
You are at greater danger for HIV when you can reply “sure” to any of the next questions, based on the CDC:
- Are you a person who has had intercourse with one other man?
- Have you ever had intercourse — anal or vaginal — with somebody who has HIV?
- Have you ever had multiple intercourse associate since your final HIV take a look at?
- Have you ever shared needles, shared injectable medicine, or different drug injection gear with others?
- Have you ever had intercourse in change for medicine or cash?
- Have you ever been identified with or handled for different sexually transmitted illnesses?
- Have you ever been identified with or handled for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB)?
- Have you ever had intercourse with somebody whose sexual historical past you’re not conscious of?
If any of this is applicable to you, you possibly can profit from a yearly HIV take a look at even when your final take a look at was detrimental.
For those who’re pregnant, ask your physician for an HIV take a look at. In case you have HIV while you get pregnant, inform your physician as quickly as doable. Your physician can provide the proper medicines that will help you and your baby keep wholesome.
It’s additionally good follow to get examined for HIV and know your standing earlier than you may have intercourse with a brand new associate for the primary time. It’s all the time a good suggestion to ask about their sexual and drug-use historical past earlier than you may have intercourse. If you understand you may have HIV, inform them your standing. For those who’re not sure about you or your associate’s HIV standing, be certain to put on a condom. This may help defend your well being or cease others from getting the an infection.
For those who assume you’ve been uncovered to HIV or have what you assume could also be signs, discuss to your physician as quickly as doable. Getting an HIV take a look at or speaking to your physician about HIV could really feel each awkward and nerve-racking. However coming in ready may help you take care of it higher.
Take a listing of questions with you so you may get probably the most dependable data. This may help your physician make a remedy plan when you do have HIV.
Even when you discover out that you simply don’t have HIV, it is a good time to ask questions and be taught extra about how one can assist forestall HIV an infection. You could have heard of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV, which may help forestall you from getting HIV. You may ask questions like:
- How can I defend myself from HIV?
- How usually ought to I get examined?
- Does my intercourse associate additionally want a take a look at?
- Do you supply counseling on HIV prevention or advocate a spot that does?
For those who don’t need to go by your self, ask a buddy or member of the family to associate with you for assist. For those who get a prognosis of HIV, your physician can level you to many sources to get you the assistance and remedy it’s worthwhile to carry the an infection beneath management.
For those who’re attempting to steer a detailed buddy or a liked one to get examined for HIV, Pantalone says it could assist to have them consider how figuring out their HIV standing or getting examined for it may possibly assist forestall the unfold to different individuals they know.
Stigma and lack of correct care can exist even amongst health care suppliers .However do not let that cease you from getting examined or getting preventive care or remedy.
In case you have a spot you go to for well being care and also you need to begin getting examined for HIV, carry it up together with your well being care supplier. “And if that supplier is not supportive, then swap,” Pantalone says. “Going to a corporation that particularly serves the HIV neighborhood is an effective way to be met with open arms and no judgments.”
For those who do take a look at constructive for HIV, Gluckman says t’s necessary to keep in mind that you are greater than that.
“You’re worthy of respect, you’re worthy of love, you’re worthy of well being, you are worthy of fine intercourse,” Gluckman says. “HIV is simply the virus.”