Do you know if you have ever been tested for HIV? Next time you go to the doctor, ask if you have ever been tested for HIV. When you sign the general consent form, you are allowing for lots, including HIV screening. Unless you opt out, a one-time testing is recommended for all new patients (13-64), and an annual test for those at high risk. Realize that all pregnant patients are mandatorily screened – one cannot refuse. If you live in a “high-density” HIV-infected area, a re-test in the 3rd trimester is standard.
The numbers are worth stating: 38 million worldwide, and in US, 1.2 million, are living with disease, with 50,000 newly-infected yearly. Interestingly, Washington DC has a high density of those infected:160/100,000.
Medication does not cure, only suppresses, the virus; once infected, patients are on drugs for life. To date, only 18 years of follow-up on drug therapy have been studied.
You need not test positive upon screening to take these antiretroviral drugs. Research shows the drugs are prophylactic; self-identifying high-risk individuals of all ages benefit.
Know where you stand!