Hey, YOU. I’m talking to YOU.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day.
Do you know your HIV status? Don’t think it matters?
Here’s why you’re wrong…
New infections are happening EVERY DAY…to people JUST LIKE YOU.…regardless of a person’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, religion, economic status, education level, whatever…ESPECIALLY here in the Southern U.S.
South Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for AIDS case rates. More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 8 (12.8%) are unaware of their infection. Roughly 50% of the annual new infections of HIV are right here in the good ole land of Southern charm.
Protect yourself. Just because someone looks good, smells good, is a “nice person”, goes to church every Sunday or the mosque every Friday or the synagogue every Saturday doesn’t mean they are immune. HIV can take 10-15 years to show symptoms. It can take several HIV tests before a positive result; recently infected individuals are the most infectious and can easily test negative. You should be tested regularly as long as you’re sexually active. Have open, honest dialogues with your partner(s) about your and their sexual history. You can even get tested together.
But being HIV positive isn’t a death sentence.
If you get a test result positive for HIV:
- You can get treatment and end up living a full and LONG life.
- You may be one of the lucky ones, whose viral load responds so well to the treatments that you become “undetectable.” That means you have so little HIV in your system that you are 96% less infectious to others, but you should still USE A CONDOM!
- You may find out you’re HIV negative, but that one test is NOT a FREE PASS. You must have a confirmatory negative test about 6 months later without having had any unprotected sex in the interim.
The bad news – People are still dying from AIDS-related causes. Many people, maybe someone just like you, don’t get tested until late in the progression of HIV’s dominance over their immune system.
These deaths may not make the news, but many of us are sick of losing friends. We have gone to enough funerals.
IT’S TIME TO GET TESTED:
- Think an HIV test is automatically included in an annual physical? It’s not. You have to ask for it.
- Get tested today and regularly as long as you are sexually active.
- Many places offer free testing.
- Specific events in South Carolina in observance of National HIV Testing Day.
Let’s ask again…Do you know your HIV status? If not, at best you’re careless with your own health and that of your sexual partner. Speaking more frankly, you’re irresponsible.
Now… ACT…GET TESTED.
And get involved. You can join the SC HIV Task Force to help stop the HIV epidemic in SC.