Tuesday, June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. HIV affects us all, regardless of sexual orientation, age, gender or race. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. One in seven of them don’t even realize they are infected.
We know that Safe is Sexy, and what could be safer than all of us coming together to screen for HIV and having an open conversation about how to prevent it from spreading?
Let’s use this day to remind us to get tested all year ‘round.
What’s the Difference Between HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It weakens your immune system by destroying important cells that are needed to fight off other diseases or infections. This virus is passed from person to person via blood or bodily fluids. The most common ways to become infected are through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
During the early stages of HIV, your symptoms may seem similar to the flu. Headaches, fever, sore throat and a body rash are usually the most common symptoms. Other flu-like symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, nausea, night sweats, muscle aches and joint pains.
In the latest stages, HIV develops into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Contrary to popular belief, AIDS is not a separate virus. It’s actually a set of symptoms that make up the most severe phase of the HIV infection.
AIDS affects over two million people worldwide and leaves their immune systems significantly damaged. This makes them susceptible to dangerous infections and diseases.
To date, medical science has not developed a cure for HIV. Fortunately, this STI can still be controlled with proper treatment and care. But in order to be treated you must first realize that you are infected. That’s where testing comes in.
Where Can I Get Tested for HIV?
Early detection of sexually transmitted infections can save lives. The traditional method of testing is to head to a doctor’s office or clinic. The benefits here are easy to see: sitting down with a medical professional or doctor can ease your mind.
If you’re looking to take action on National HIV Testing Day, you are in luck! Across the United States, you’ll find a helpful testing center near you. Here’s a helpful way to locate an in-person testing center near you.
Test from the Comfort of Home
Of course, in-person testing isn’t the only way to be screened for HIV. Home STD testing offers a powerful alternative to the traditional clinic visit.
Getting to a doctor can be more inconvenient than it seems. Due to a disability or lack of transportation, some of us don’t have the means to travel to a testing area. Others simply cannot afford to take time off from work or feel uncomfortable speaking face-to-face with a doctor about their sex lives. Thanks to major advances in modern medicine, each of us is now able to take total control over our own sexual health, regardless of our ability to get to a clinic.
For National HIV Testing Day and beyond, at-home HIV testing couldn’t be more convenient. You won’t have to answer any awkward questions or watch time fly by as you sit in a waiting room. At-home STI testing represents a major breakthrough in self-care. While testing for HIV, you can even screen for other common STIs by using a “test combo” kit. myLAB Box is also the first Testing-to-Treatment service. We provide access to professional STD counselors and physicians in your state via telemedicine. This is free of charge if you ever test positive using our service.
The whole process, from clicking “order” to getting results, is only a matter of days.
Here’s the myLAB Box process:
- 1-3 days after you click “order,” your test package will arrive at your door in a discreet package.
- It only takes 5 minutes to complete the test. For HIV testing, this requires a small sample of blood.
- Pop your sample back in the mail using our return-addressed stamped envelope.
- Receive lab-certified results online in just a few days.
myLAB Box’s results are processed at certified labs within the United States. In the end, these are the same lab-certified test results that you would receive from a clinic or doctor. The only real difference is that now you can avoid the hassle and inconvenience of testing in person.
Smash the Stigma
Try as we might to get rid of it, there is still a powerful stigma that surrounds the discussion around HIV and AIDS. In fact, it stands in the way of many people ever being tested. Misguided notions about the transmission of HIV often prevent many people from even seeking advice.
Knowing your HIV status is one of the most powerful ways to keep yourself and your partners healthy. While certain groups may seem to be more “at risk” than others, you can never be sure unless you are properly screened.
“Even if you don’t think you’re at risk for HIV, it is still important that you get tested,” says Lora Ivanova, CMO and Co-Founder of myLAB Box. “If you are sexually active, you are at risk. The more of us who know our status, the easier it will become to stop the spread of infection and even save lives.”
Routine Testing is the Key to Stopping HIV
The key to stopping the spread of HIV will always be routine testing. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 tests for HIV. At myLAB Box, we recommend that everyone screens for all of the major STIs at least once each year.
National HIV Testing Day offers a wonderful opportunity to put this idea into action. It spreads HIV awareness and encourages us to speak openly about our status.
Early detection can stop the spread of HIV among unknowing carriers and their partners. Whether you test in-person at a clinic or choose to test from home, the key is simply to get tested.