What You Need to Know About HIV and AIDS Testing
Many people are uninformed when it comes to AIDS. The information in this article will serve to provide you with information about what this virus is, preventing HIV, and how to get tested. Many medical services in all states provide the community with HIV AIDS testing services. At a medical site, they can generally provide you with a testing center that is close by. Many times, states, such as Maine, are able to provide programs for the public to come in and be tested as well as provide results in only a few days.
AIDS is the abbreviation for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The AIDS virus starts as HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks our immune system by finding and destroying a type of white blood cell that we all must have in order to fight disease. Many victims of this disease do not die from the disease itself, but rather from a secondary infection such as pneumonia. It is critical that patients who have this disease seek immediate and ongoing medical treatment.
So where did this virus begin? After many years of research, scientists have narrowed the cause to West Africa where a human likely contracted the disease by coming into contact with the infected blood of a chimpanzee they had killed. The virus took years to spread across Africa but eventually it reached around the world. In the year 2008, the CDC reported that in the 1980’s, the disease hit its peak at about 130,000 new infections each year. New infections dropped to around 50,000 per year during the 1990’s and have remained at a steady rate of about 56,000 per year since 2000. The drop in new cases can be credited to new drugs becoming available, early testing capabilities, and programs being funded by state agencies and health departments.
The HIV virus is an STD, or sexually transmitted disease, that is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, by sharing infected needles and syringes, or if a fetus or infant is exposed to the virus either before or during birth or through breast milk. There is no cure for this virus, so it has become more important than ever to take precautions by using protection when engaging in sexual activity or when using needles. Women are especially vulnerable if they do not think ahead and bring a condom in the case that their partner doesn’t have one.
With all of the clinical research that has been done and drugs that have been developed, if you need testing done, have questions, or work with someone who may need counseling, please contact your doctor or the local health department for free resources where they can recommend options and provide information to you. Home testing kits are now available as well that offer at home testing in the privacy of your own home with results in a matter of only days. By staying informed, protecting ourselves, and remaining united, we can all do our part to prevent HIV transmission one person at a time!