Today is National HIV Testing Day!
Today is national HIV Testing Day! Knowledge is Power! Knowing your health status puts you in control of your health. There are many ways to prevent contraction and transmission as well as available treatment options to improve the prognosis of HIV. The first step is getting tested!
Find a Testing Center Near You!
The CDC provides a free service, Get Tested, to help you locate free, fast and confidential testing near you! Check it out.
Practice Safe Sex
Condom use is very important to preventing STI and HIV contraction and transmission. Although abstinence is the safest option for preventing STI and HIV, condoms are a very reliable option.
When used correctly and consistently, latex and polyurethane condoms are 98-99% effective in preventing disease transmission. Latex and polyurethane condoms are the only condoms that protect against HIV and STI's. Other types of condoms such as lamb skin condoms, do not protect against STI's and HIV.
It is also important to use protection when engaging in oral sex. Oral sex presents low risk for HIV. Mouth to penis oral sex is the risky type of oral sex for disease transmission. While HIV risk is low during oral sex, risk for other STI's is high.
Using latex or polyurethane condoms or dental dams can reduce risk of STI and HIV transmission during oral sex.
AVERT defines HIV-related stigma as o prejudice, negative attitudes and abuse directed at people living with HIV and AIDS.
Stigma has many negative consequences for persons living with HIV. According to AVERT, consequences include:
loss of income and livelihood
loss of marriage and childbearing options
poor care within the health sector
withdrawal of caregiving in the home
loss of hope and feelings of worthlessness
loss of reputation
Stigma may also influence one's decision to get tested. One may avoid learning their status in fear of how they will be treated or viewed based on the results or even the decision to get tested.
In conclusion, be gentle and know your status!