MONROE, La (KNOE 8 News) National HIV Testing Day is a reminder to get the facts, get tested, and get involved to take care of yourself and your partners.
An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and that number grows by almost 50,000 every year.
One in eight people who have HIV don't know it. That means they aren't getting the medical care they need to stay healthy and avoid passing HIV to others.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment.
Early linkage to and retention in HIV care is central to managing HIV and promoting health among all people living with HIV.
HIV medicines can keep people with HIV healthy for many years, and greatly reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to their sex partners.
The only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to get tested.
CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and that people with certain risk factors get tested more often.
People with more than one sex partner, people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and people who inject drugs are likely to be at high risk and should get tested at least once a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from even more frequent testing, depending on their risk.
To protect your own health, you should also get tested if you have been sexually assaulted.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, CDC recommends HIV testing with each pregnancy, both for your own benefit and to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby.
Knowing your HIV status gives you the power to control your health and your future, and getting tested has never been easier.
"GO CARE" in West Monroe offers free HIV testing Monday through Thursday 8 am to 4 pm and Fridays 8 am to 2 pm.
No appointment is necessary.
Utilizing 4th generation testing, GO CARE employs trained counselors to assist in the process of getting tested.
Today June 27th, "GO CARE" will offer free refreshments to anyone coming in for testing.
They're located at 1801 N. 7th Street, Suite A, in West Monroe.
For more information, contact them at 318-325-1092 or visit their web site.
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