Although HIV has been a part of our lives for over 25 years, people in this country are still getting infected at about the same rate they have been for several years. Many people still have misinformation about the virus or don’t feel they are at risk. Here are a few things everyone can do:
• Encourage people to get tested and get tested yourself
Planned Parenthood of Southwest & Central Florida offers 3 types of HIV testing: a rapid test (results in 20 minutes), blood draw sent to a local lab (results in 2-3 days) or the free state test (results in about 3 weeks).
• Learn the facts about HIV so you can educate yourself and others
There are still many myths about how HIV is spread, who’s at risk, and how it’s prevented.
• Promote condom use
Many people worry more about becoming pregnant than becoming infected with a STI. If they or their partner are using contraception, they may believe they have taken care of all their reproductive needs. If they have a same sex partner or are past childbearing years, they may figure they have nothing to worry about.
Out of all the STIs, HIV is the most difficult to catch, and it has a dramatic impact on someone’s life as well as the lives of those who love them. Despite fears of many to the contrary, a positive HIV test isn’t a death sentence; with medical attention, proper medication, and taking control of their health, someone can live a long and healthy life with HIV.
The best medication for HIV, though? Not getting the virus at all. Let’s all do our part to reduce the spread of HIV.
For the most current information on the virus, check out the CDC website on HIV.
For living with HIV, read this CDC brochure on HIV; visit MyHIVLife for tips on living a life with HIV; as well as Avert, the international HIV & AIDS charity, to answer common questions about living with HIV.