June 27th is National HIV Testing Day and so of course we’re celebrating! Today we call on everyone to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV. If everyone knew their HIV status, and those living with HIV were on treatment and the virus suppressed, we could stop HIV within a generation.
If you don’t know your status, a rapid HIV test takes just fifteen minutes, and requires only a pin prick of blood. Most tests will be accurate after twelve weeks from exposure, but the newer 4th and 5th generation tests are highly accurate within just four to eight weeks of exposure.
If you are worried you may have been exposed to HIV, the sooner you get tested, the sooner you can take necessary action. If you are HIV positive, modern treatment can suppress the virus to such low levels that the virus is undetectable, and therefore untransmittable. Knowing your status is the first step.
This year’s National HIV Testing Day theme is “Doing It My Way”. This highlights how and why people should make testing part of their lives – on their terms and in their own way. We’re encouraging everyone to share their story of why testing is important using the hashtag #DoingItMyWay. What motivates you to get tested and stay healthy? How do you test? Everyone takes that step in their own way, and sharing your story might help someone at home get their first test. There are so many ways to test – with a self-test kit, at home sending off a blood sample, at the clinic with a partner, a friend or a loved one… as long as you’re getting tested, it’s the right way for you.