Hoosiers are encouraged to know their HIV status. This is the 20th annual National HIV Testing Day. State health officials say the recent HIV outbreak in southeastern Indiana underscores the need for testing in order to help yourself and others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six people are living with HIV and are not aware of it. As a result they are not getting the treatment they need to stay healthy and may unknowingly pass the virus along to others. HIV can spread when someone who is infected has sex or shares needles with someone who does not have the virus.
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and that some people with risk factors get tested more often. Gay and bisexual men, people with more than one sex partner, people with sexually transmitted diseases and people who inject drugs are at higher risk and should get tested at least once a year.
State health officials say people who know their HIV status can take care of themselves and their partner(s). Medical treatment for HIV can allow an infected person to live a longer, healthier life and reduce the risk of infecting others.
HIV can be prevented by consistently using condoms and not sharing needles or drug injection equipment.
HIV testing can be performed at a doctor’s office. Free testing is also available at select locations. Visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/23727.htm for more information.