Today, in honor of National HIV Testing Day, the Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition encourages you to get tested for HIV. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Many people with HIV don’t have any symptoms. In the United States, 1 in 8 people living with HIV don’t know they have it.
Even if you don’t feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important. Early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life. Treatment can also make it less likely that you will pass HIV on to other people.
Am I at risk for HIV?
HIV is spread through some of the body’s fluids, like blood, semen (cum), vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV is passed from one person to another by:
- Having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) without a condom or dental dam with a person who has HIV
- Sharing needles with someone who has HIV
- Breastfeeding, pregnancy, or childbirth if the mother has HIV
- Getting a transfusion of blood that’s infected with HIV (very rare in the United States)
- Under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, insurance plans must cover HIV testing. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.