Time To Debunk Some Myths
More people are becoming aware of the dangers of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), including teenagers. The common knowledge is that the spread of the virus can be prevented by getting tested. Unfortunately, there are various myths surrounding HIV testing and misconceptions about the disease. To save lives and stop further spread, the following 3 myths must be debunked.
1. Only specific clinics test for HIV
Is testing for HIV only available at a particular clinic or doctor’s office? The truth is HIV testing has become much more accessible over the years. Most people can get tested at a local pharmacy or health clinic without booking a doctor’s appointment. Most pharmacies also offer affordable and convenient self-testing kits that anyone can use at home. There are even mail-in HIV test kits available online. Aside from convenience, these at-home kits offer confidentiality and privacy, which is ideal for those who feel uncomfortable going to a public clinic.
2. HIV testing is expensive
While the initial cost of an HIV test can be expensive, this does not make frequent checks out of reach for most people. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of an HIV test. Additionally, some testing facilities provide discounts for patients who need financial help to afford the test. Many non-profit organizations also offer free and low-cost HIV tests to needy people. Testing resources are also subsidized for teens, young adults, and underserved communities in some states. Moreover, the HIV self-test and mail-in test kits mentioned above are much more affordable.
3. Results take too long
Another common misconception is that HIV testing takes too long, causing anxiety. In reality, rapid HIV tests can be completed in minutes. Blood tests done at a clinic takes the longest. However, the turnaround time has improved significantly over the years. Most patients get results from the clinic about 1-2 weeks after a sample is submitted. For self-tests, results are available within 30 minutes or less of sample collection.
Don’t hesitate to test
HIV testing is more accessible and convenient now than ever before. More laboratories and clinics offer such services, and health insurance companies cover costs. Therefore, the missing link is the person’s willingness to get tested. If privacy and confidentiality are a concern, affordable self-test kits are available at home. This convenient approach allows at-risk groups like people who inject drugs (PWID) and men who have sex with men (MSM) to get tested discreetly. So, don’t delay, get tested today and help prevent the spread of HIV.