The burden of HIV has cost America too much for too long and remains a significant public health issue. There are about 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV and many more are at risk of infection. Unfortunately, many people with HIV are unaware of their status.

Knowing one’s HIV status is a crucial step toward getting treatment and preventing the spread of HIV. Here’s more about the benefits of routine HIV testing and how at-home options can increase access.

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About HIV

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a condition that attacks the body’s immune system. HIV makes individuals more vulnerable to other infections and diseases and without treatment, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This condition can affect people of all genders, ages, and sexual orientations.

While new HIV diagnoses have declined since its peak between 1996 and 2001, progress on reducing rates has slowed down with an estimated 38,000 Americans being newly diagnosed annually [1]. Without intervention, nearly 400,000 more Americans will be diagnosed with HIV over the next 10 years [2]. Fortunately, the appropriate screening and medical care can help people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.

The importance of HIV testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be screened for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Those at higher risk should also be re-tested at least once per year. HIV screening is vital as about one in seven people living with HIV don’t know they have it [3]. An estimated 40% of new infections can be attributed to people who do not know they have HIV [4].

Detecting HIV and getting treatment is easier today than ever before. Taking an HIV test is the only way for one to know their status and make informed healthcare decisions. Individuals who test positive for HIV can receive treatment to protect their health and prevent the virus transmission to others. Additionally, those who test negative for HIV now have more tools available to prevent HIV than ever before.

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Barriers to HIV testing

With less than 40% of adults having ever been tested for HIV, there is a need for improved efforts around routine screening [5]. Social, economic, and cultural hurdles often prevent individuals from receiving an HIV test. Barriers might include stigma or discrimination by a healthcare provider or peers, lack of access to healthcare, limited transportation or funds, and the inability to take time off work.

A majority of HIV stigma is rooted in misconceptions about how it is transmitted and what it means to live with it. These attitudes and judgments towards people living with or at risk of HIV discourage individuals from learning their HIV status and accessing treatment. Providing discreet and accessible HIV testing options can help more individuals access the care they need.

How LetsGetChecked can increase access to HIV testing

LetsGetChecked’s Sexual Health Solutions enable individuals to test themselves and find out their results from the comfort of home. Our comprehensive sexual health panels provide individuals with a private and confidential way to overcome barriers to screening and access crucial HIV health insights.

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