Of the million-plus people living with HIV, many don’t even know it.
So the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness has partnered with Greater Than AIDS in recognition of National HIV Testing Day – TODAY – to reiterate the importance of knowing your status, while increasing understanding about HIV, testing recommendations and the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment.
Greater Than AIDS advises:
• “HIV doesn’t have a “look” and most people experience few if any symptoms in the early stages of infection. The only way to know you have HIV is by getting tested.”
• “Tests are fast, safe and reliable. Most sites are offering results within minutes using oral swab or finger stick rapid tests.”
• “Getting an HIV diagnosis now is different than at the beginning of the epidemic. Advances in HIV treatments mean most people can live long, productive lives if diagnosed and treated early enough.”
• “HIV testing is also an opportunity to connect those who test negative to resources that can help them stay negative.”
Then, once you get tested:
• “If you test HIV negative, maintain your status by using condoms and learn more about PrEP, the daily pill that reduces the chance of HIV transmission, to see if it’s right for you.”
• “If you test HIV positive, early diagnosis and treatment improves health, extends life as well as helps to prevent the spread of HIV. People with HIV who are on ongoing antiretroviral treatment not only have better health outcomes but also significantly reduce the risk of passing the virus to others by as much as 96 percent.”
With that, keep in mind only one in three living in the U.S. with HIV are keeping the virus under control with ongoing treatment and care. Again, first step, find out!