Know the importance of HIV testing
We all understand the importance of getting tested for things such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. HIV testing is similar. It is important to find out if you have HIV early, before you feel sick. And testing isn’t just for some people—health agencies now recommend that most of us get tested for HIV at least once.
Because many symptoms are nonspecific, early detection makes a huge difference in long-term health outcomes. Living a long, healthy life with HIV is possible with recent advances in treatment.
But HIV diagnosis can be difficult
Unfortunately, because HIV symptoms often don’t show up for many years, many people live with HIV without knowing it. That may be because many symptoms of HIV infection are also symptoms of other common illnesses. Plus, infected individuals may experience all, some or none of these symptoms.
HIV testing: the only sure way to know
This is why early HIV testing is so critical to HIV diagnosis and management. Only an HIV screening test can confirm whether a person is infected. Fortunately, recent advances in testing for HIV—called “4th generation” screening—can detect HIV up to 20 days earlier than previously possible with 3rd-generation testing. No matter which test you get, however, the important thing is to just get tested. Screening for HIV is a convenient blood test.