Jun 25, 2012

HIV testing saves lives

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Did you know that more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection, yet approximately 1 in 5 of them don't know it?

Have you been tested? Medicare covers HIV screening once every 12 months, or up to 3 times during a pregnancy, for people with Medicare of any age who ask for the test, pregnant women, and people at increased risk for the infection (such as gay and bisexual men, injection drug users, or people with multiple sexual partners). You pay nothing for the tests, but you generally have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor visit.

Early testing and diagnosis is key to prevention. At least 1 in 3 people in the U.S. who test positive for HIV is tested too late to get the full advantage of treatment. Early testing cuts the spread of disease, extends life expectancy, and cuts costs of care. Testing is an important first step in bringing people with HIV infection the medical care and support they need to improve their health and help them maintain safer behaviors.

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. Make sure your loved ones have been tested—the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. You can learn more about HIV testing and what you can do to increase testing awareness by visiting the Centers for Disease Control.