HIV/AIDS Awareness Month: HIV Testing
“TEST EASY, REST EASY”
Every December, health organizations from around the globe come together to bring awareness to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, starting with World AIDS Day on December 1. This day is a time for increased cognizance about, and to increase efforts to prevent and fight, the HIV disease, as well as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Commitment to supporting people living with HIV, protecting those at risk for infection, and honoring those lost to AIDS-related illnesses, are at the forefront of this important month.
Routine HIV screening and testing is encouraged. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship (both you and your partner are having sex only with each other), you should find out for sure whether you or your partner has HIV.
HHS partners with several entities to provide free HIV testing for community members. To find a testing site near you, visit hhs.nd.gov/health/hiv-testing. Those unable to go to a clinic can find at-home testing options at nddoh.mybinxhealth.com.
“Everyone should get tested for HIV and know their status,” said Sarah Weninger, HIV Prevention Coordinator at HHS. “No matter the outcome of the test, people should be connected with the necessary HIV prevention or treatment services.”
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or “PrEP,” was approved within the past decade as a highly effective medicine taken to prevent getting HIV. In addition to this prevention medicine, individuals living with HIV who are on HIV treatment medication, and achieve and maintain viral suppression, cannot spread HIV to others, significantly decreasing the quantity of new transmissions.
In support of the efforts of many across our state, including members of North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS), Governor Doug Burgum has proclaimed Dec. 1, 2022, as World AIDS Day in the State of North Dakota.
HHS is collaborating with state and local partners on the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative across North Dakota, while following the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030.
CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
People with certain risk factors should get tested more often. You should get tested at least once a year if:
• You’re a man who has had sex with another man.
• You’ve had anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV.
• You’ve had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test.
• You’ve shared needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment (for example, cookers).
• You’ve exchanged sex for drugs or money.
• You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted disease.
• You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB).
• You’ve had sex with someone who has done anything listed above or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know
Before having sex for the first time with a new partner, talk about your sexual and drug-use history, disclose your HIV status, and consider getting tested for HIV together.