HIV testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life, reducing the spread of HIV, and ending the AIDS epidemic. By getting regularly tested and knowing your status, you can take the necessary steps to protect your health and that of others – either receiving timely treatment or the appropriate preventive care.
If you knowingly live with HIV, you can begin treatment such as antiretroviral therapy (ART). Such treatment can keep you healthy and help you live a normal life by lowering your viral load, reducing HIV-related illness, and decreasing the spread of the virus to others. According to the Center for Disease Control in the U.S., properly taking ART daily “can reduce an HIV-positive person’s chance of transmitting HIV by as much as 96%.”
If you learn that you are HIV-negative, knowing your status can help you take preventative measures, regarding sex, drug use, and health care, to protect you from HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is one such daily medication that can prevent HIV infection in persons who are HIV-negative and at very high risk for HIV. Taking PrEP once a day can maximize your protection against HIV by around 99%.
For more information about PrEP here and here.