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89. A COMPLETE GUIDE TO TESTING FOR HIV

Am I infected?Am I infected?: A complete guide to testing for HIV
Introduction
Getting tested for HIV is a smart thing to do. Yet many people refuse to get tested. They find the idea of getting tested so frightening that they just don't want to do it, even though they will often continue to be stressed and worried about whether they're infected. Others think of testing as unnecessary because they want to believe that HIV is something that won't touch them.
Many times when someone gets tested, they happily find out their concern about being infected was unfounded. Getting the assurance of that negative test result can provide an enormous relief. For others, getting tested and learning they are HIV-positive is the first important step toward staying healthy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), estimates there are 850,000 to 950,000 people who are HIV positive (HIV+) in the United States. Of that number, the CDC estimates that more than 25 percent are unaware of their HIV status. Often healthy in appearance and feeling well, they aren't receiving proper health care. Being unaware of their HIV status also makes it more likely they will unknowingly pass the HIV virus to others.
One of the most basic truths about HIV is that gender, age, race and economic status are irrelevant when it comes to vulnerability to HIV. Anyone can become infected. The HIV epidemic is going to be with us for a long time to come. At present there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are medications that have proven to be very effective in keeping HIV-positive people alive longer and healthier.
Because knowing your accurate HIV status is essential to your good health, HIV testing is something everyone needs to know about.

How do I know if I should get tested for HIV?
Getting tested is recommended if any of the following apply to you:
You should be tested at least once a year if you are sexually active, particularly with three or more sexual partners in the last 12 months.
You had a possible exposure to HIV either through vaginal or anal intercourse without the use of a condom or have been involved in any other risky sexual behavior.
You have shared/reused needles or syringes to inject drugs (including steroids), or for body piercing, tattooing, or any other reason.
You are a health care worker who's had a work-related accident such as direct exposure to blood or have been stuck with a needle or other object.
You are uncertain about your sexual partner's risk behaviors or your sexual partner has tested positive for HIV.
You are pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant.
You have had certain illnesses including TB (tuberculosis), or an STD (sexually transmitted disease), such as syphilis or herpes.
You have any reason to be uncertain about your HIV status.


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