Get Tested.....Start Treatment
To be clear, getting tested and knowing your status is extremely important, yet most people don’t know their status and some have never even been tested. The CDC recently released a press release in which they stated “The vast majority (about 80%) of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2016 was transmitted from nearly 40 percent of people with HIV who either did not know they had HIV, or who received a diagnosis but were not receiving HIV Care”. The press release went on to say that nearly 15% of people with HIV whose status was unknown, accounted for nearly 40% of all HIV transmissions. While, roughly 23% of people who had been diagnosed with HIV but not receiving care, accounted for nearly 43% of all HIV transmission. Based on these numbers, nearly 83% of all HIV transmissions are due to either people not knowing their status or them knowing their status but not on treatment. Both which can be resolved fairly easily and in most cases for free!
In most areas, you can find a clinic or organization where you can receive free and confidential testing, along with information and resources no matter the result of the test. Yes, it can be scary and nerve racking, however isn’t it more scary to not know? After all, HIV is NOT a death sentence in 2019. People living with HIV can live a normal and health life if they are on HIV Treatment, and nowadays, treatment consist of taking only 1 pill a day for most people. Yes, just like any medication there are costs associated with the medication. However, with most insurance you can use the financial assistance programs from the pharmaceutical company leaving the person with a $0 copay. As well if the person is uninsured or underinsured, the person can always apply for the HMAP program, typically through the State in which they live, and received their medications for free of charge! There is even a website, Digital LinCS that can help to fill out the HMAP application. If the person tests negative, they can look into getting started on PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), which is used to help prevent HIV, and don’t worry, there is financial assistance available for PrEP as well and you can also use Digital LinCS to apply.
If you want to get involved, then you can start by simply having conversations with you partner, friends and family about getting tested!
To find a testing site near you, please visit https://locator.hiv.gov/
To get information on Digital LinCS please visit www.digitalincs.com