According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of the approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. with HIV, about 14% (162,000) don’t know they have it. With the highly effective treatments that are currently available for those who have HIV or are at higher risk, it’s important to get tested to start living the healthiest life possible and protect others from HIV transmission.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), an annual observance to encourage people of all ages to get tested for HIV, to know their status, and to take appropriate action.
Important Facts about Testing:
- The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 13 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
- People with specific risk factors—including having sex without a condom with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status you don’t know; having sex with many partners; and injecting drugs—should get tested at least once a year.
- HIV testing is confidential, and often free or low-cost.
- There are many ways to get tested: going to a testing site, which can provide counseling and other services; visiting a clinic or doctor’s office; or using the over-the-counter home test OraQuick (the only approved test in the U.S.), available online or at the pharmacy without a prescription.
- With a home test, if the results are positive, a follow-up test is needed to confirm the results. Confidential counseling and referral to follow-up testing sites are provided.
Those who test positive should discuss treatment options with a health care provider as soon as possible, the first step to staying healthy. In recent years, it’s become clear that people with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load through treatment cannot sexually transmit the virus to others (U=U).
Those who test negative for HIV can use the opportunity to discuss the best prevention options, such as PrEP, a once-daily pill that is over 90% effective at preventing HIV.
Amida Care is working with New York State on providing wider access to enhanced sexual health services in order to serve more people who are potentially at elevated risk for acquiring HIV.
FAQs about HIV testing
Find a free or low-cost sexual health clinic in New York City here.
Find a testing site outside of NYC here.
More information about testing: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/hiv-be-hiv-sure.page
General information about HIV
Amida Care is a Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan for people living with and at elevated risk for HIV and currently serves 7,500 members throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Confidential answers are available at 1-855-GO-AMIDA (1-855-462-6432) (TTY 711).