Today’s Editorial, June 27: Free HIV test this week

Twenty minutes taken out of your hectic schedule could save your life.

This is National HIV Testing Week in the Cayman Islands.

Today is National HIV Testing Day in the United States.

The week and the day are helpful reminders to us all that HIV is not going away. It’s also a timely reminder of the very real benefits of knowing your HIV status.

Only through testing can the Cayman Islands help control the spread of HIV. People who know their HIV status can take the appropriate steps to protect their health and the health of their partners.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

More often than not people who test positive for HIV never considered themselves at risk.

But HIV doesn’t discriminate.

Married people get it.

Women get it.

Young people get it.

Straight people get it.

Gays get it.

Whites get it.

Blacks get it.

If you’re having sex or using needles you can get HIV.

It only takes about 20 minutes to get tested and one of two things can happen.

You can find out if you’re negative, which is great news, but it doesn’t stop there. You can also learn the latest on how to stay HIV-negative.

You can find out if you’re positive. If so, you will have taken the first step to managing your HIV infection.

And HIV is manageable.

Most people with HIV are able to keep their infection under control and able to get on with every aspect of their lives.

There are new medicines available on the market that are easier to take and live with. In fact many taking medicine to treat HIV face only two pills a day and research and development being done could mean that the daily dosage in the future could be cut down to just one pill.

Just in case you don’t think taking advantage of the Health Services Authority’s offer of free HIV testing is important, consider the following:

Half of all new HIV infections in the United States are among people younger than 25.

Men who have sex with men account for 44 per cent of US HIV diagnoses. Many of those men are outside the mainstream of the gay community and are not aware of their risk.

Women represent nearly 30 per cent of those diagnosed with HIV each year.

So take 20 minutes of your time this week and get tested for HIV.

For more information about National HIV Testing Week, contact Mrs. Ffrench at 244-2631, email: [email protected] or Mrs. Therese Prehay, Health Promotion officer, phone 244-2632, email [email protected].

Do it for your community.

Do it for your partner.

Do it for yourself.

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