The Importance of HIV Testing
Why Get Tested?
In the same way that regular visits to a doctor can help you prevent or treat non-sexual illnesses, getting an HIV test gives you two key options:
- A positive HIV test alerts you on the need for immediate and regular treatment to control HIV — by becoming undetectable and preventing further HIV transmission.
- A negative test should be seen as an opportunity to take the necessary steps to stay negative, like using condoms and/or taking PrEP daily.
What You Need to Know and Why
Awareness is the first step toward resolving a major health crisis. An estimated 850,000–950,000 individuals in the United States are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Approximately 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year in the United States. One-fourth of individuals living with HIV are unaware that they have the virus.
Knowing your status and taking action makes a critical difference. HIV transmission cannot be eliminated if individuals do not know their HIV status (i.e., whether they are HIV positive or HIV negative). An HIV test is the only way to determine if a person is living with the virus. Once an individual knows s/he is living with HIV, safer behaviors may be adapted to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of transmission.