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What is HIV testing?
HIV testing shows whether a person has HIV. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV testing can detect HIV infection, but it can’t tell how long a person has had HIV or if the person has AIDS.
If you are HIV negative:
Testing shows that you don’t have HIV. Continue taking steps to avoid getting HIV, such as using condoms during sex and, if you are at high risk of getting HIV, taking medicines to prevent HIV (called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP).
If you are HIV positive:
Testing shows that you have HIV, but you can still take steps to protect your health. Begin by talking to your health care provider about antiretroviral therapy (ART). People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day to treat HIV infection. ART can’t cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.
THE REAL RISK IS NOT KNOWING
Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today. About 14 percent of them (1 in 7) don’t know it and need testing.
HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities and gay and bisexual men.
An estimated 38,000 new HIV infections still occur in the United States each year. These infections can be prevented.