No Shame In The Game: Getting Yourself Checked For HIV

May 30, 2024

Why You Should Get Tested

HIV testing is one of the crucial steps in understanding and preventing the spread of the virus. By knowing one’s HIV status, individuals can take appropriate steps to protect one’s health and prevent transmitting the virus to others. Moreover, early detection of HIV can lead to earlier intervention and treatment, improving the overall health outcomes for individuals living with HIV. Getting tested also reduces stigma and helps promote a culture of acceptance and support for those living with HIV. Here are the basics of getting tested for HIV that everyone should know.

Who should get tested?

People aged 13-64 are highly encouraged to get tested for HIV at least once as a part of routine healthcare. Additionally, pregnant women are recommended to get tested for HIV during prenatal care. Testing ensures the health of both mother and unborn child. Routine testing is also particularly important for individuals who engage in high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex, men who have sex with men (MSM), sharing needles, and having multiple sexual partners. Testing for HIV is also crucial for anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

When should you get tested?

As mentioned, routine testing is recommended at least once a year. However, those who engage in high-risk behaviors should consider more frequent testing, such as every 3-6 months. Testing should also be done immediately if someone experiences symptoms that may be indicative of acute HIV infection, such as flu-like symptoms or a rash.

Where should you get tested?

HIV testing can be done at various healthcare settings, including clinics, hospitals, and community health centers. Many organizations have also established HIV testing events and outreach programs in order to increase accessibility and awareness of testing options. There are also at-home HIV testing kits available for purchase, providing convenience and privacy for individuals who prefer to test in the comfort of home.

Addressing common misconceptions

A common misconception is HIV testing is always included in routine blood work done by primary care providers. However, this is not always the case. Anyone who wants to get tested for HIV in a clinical setting should specifically request an HIV test or seek out a healthcare provider that offers comprehensive sexual health services. Another misconception is that a positive HIV test means a death sentence. In reality, with advancements in medical treatments and care, people living with HIV can lead long and healthy lives. On the other hand, a negative result does not provide lifelong immunity or guarantee that an individual is HIV-free. Regular and frequent HIV testing is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing the spread of the virus.

No shame in your testing game

Testing is the cornerstone of preventing the spread of HIV and ending the HIV epidemic. One’s sexual health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being. There should be no shame or stigma associated with getting tested for HIV. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or lifestyle choices, should prioritize regular HIV testing. Testing is a responsible and proactive step towards safeguarding health and the health of partners and communities.


“Since becoming a patient with HSNT, I feel seen, cared for, and more informed than I’ve ever been.”  –  Jordan Grahmann

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