By Courtney Griffin, Guest Blogger
We’ve all heard the importance of being tested for HIV every so often. Depending on your individual risk factors it is ideal to be tested for HIV as frequently as every 3 to 6 months to as infrequently as once a year.
This is the time of year where being tested is heavily promoted and equally as convenient. Many facilities across the country are dedicating a day (June 27th) to making sure people are aware of the importance of being tested and actually do it.
I know you all may have heard this a million times in high school but I feel the need to tell you again. Below are the risk factors of contracting HIV
- sharing needles/syringes or other equipment for injecting drugs,
- having a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),
- having unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with multiple or anonymous partners or,
- having unprotected sex with a partner who did not know their own HIV status.
HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and attack key parts of your immune system including your T-cells or CD4 cells and as a result may not be found at an initial test. This is why it is important to be tested often or a few weeks after every new partner. Over time, HIV can destroy your CD4 cells and your body won’t be able to fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens, HIV infection can lead to AIDS. I want you to know your status before this happens!
Getting tested is easy and painless and usually FREE. Most testing centers just need a swab of saliva from your mouth or urine to test.
It is so easy to say HIV will never happen to me, that doesn’t concern me. AIDS.gov has made it even easier to be tested, find a testing center and go on June 27th to make sure!