Why you should get an HIV test

An HIV test doesn't have to be a painful procedure.
An HIV test doesn’t have to be painful.

It’s not at the top of anyone’s fun things to do list (far from it!) but Thursday is National HIV Testing Day, and it isn’t a date to ignore. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States alone around 1.2 million people have HIV and an estimated one in five people don’t know they’re infected. Dr. Donna Futterman, Director of the Adolescent AIDS Program at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York and board member of Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS, says everyone who is sexually active — everyone — should be tested annually.

“People aren’t totally aware,” Futterman says. “Sixty percent of teens and younger adults don’t know they are infected, and 20 percent of older adults don’t know either. This is why HIV continues to spread.”

Besides stemming the spread of infection, HIV testing means that people with the virus can be diagnosed and get the medical help they need. HIV is not the same horrifyingly deadly disease it was in the 1980s; it’s now survivable with treatment.

“We are trying for prevention and to get the message to people that you can avoid HIV. But we also want people to know that if you have it, we can help,” says Futterman.

Futterman says your doctor might not think to ask you for an HIV test, and that you should be the one to bring it up.

“Everyone should get HIV testing, but it’s just not done,” she says. “You have to think about it for yourself and protect yourself.”

Get yours

You can get an HIV test that’s fast, simple, painless and anonymous (or confidential). Oral fluid tests are a quick swab in the mouth that can detect the virus in less than an hour. Blood and urine tests are also options.

One new way to get an HIV test is through a combo test. HIV combo tests (also called fourth generation tests) can provide accurate results within two weeks of exposure to HIV (normally, you have to wait three or four weeks to get an accurate diagnosis) because they can spot antigens – the actual HIV virus – as well as antibodies. The blood test is made by Abbott, which was the first lab to market an HIV test, in 1985. The tests are covered by insurance.

To find an HIV testing center near you, visit http://hivtest.cdc.gov/default.aspx. And to find a testing center that offers HIV combo tests, visit www.hivcombo.com.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…