June 27th is National HIV Testing Day
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine healthcare, while people with certain risk factors should get tested more often.
According to the CDC, about 1.2 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV as of 2012 and approximately 1 in 8 people do not know that they were infected. The Southern states, including Kentucky, account for approximately 44% of HIV cases in the U.S. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
HIV testing is easily accessible. Rapid HIV testing is available in local health departments in Kentucky and results are available in 20 minutes. A positive test result does require additional follow-up testing for confirmation. If you would like to be tested, please contact your local health department or your medical provider’s office.
Early diagnosis and linkage to care is extremely important. HIV medication known as antiretroviral therapy (ART) is widely available. ART does not cure HIV, but it can sustain health for many years. ART works by reducing the amount of virus (or viral load) in your blood and body fluids. ART must be taken consistently, every day to be effective. HIV medication assistance from the Ryan White Program is available for those who qualify. If you need assistance obtaining HIV medications or need to seek treatment, please contact Natasha Bowmer, RN, at the Lake Cumberland District Health Department (800)928-4416, extension 4225 or (606)305-0014.