How often should you get an HIV test?

How often should you get an HIV test?

One of the things the current pandemic has taught us is to address the fears of getting tested. If someone starts out with a fever, cough, and sore throat, they may very well suspect they have COVID, but they may also be afraid to confirm this by getting tested.

HIV testing has been a similar story. At the beginning of the epidemic, when the virus was concentrated in populations that were already discriminated against and, on top of that, there were no treatments, it was such a taboo that people lived in denial. “I don’t need to get tested because I don’t do those things.”

Fortunately, perception has been shifting, and both civil organizations as well as governments from many countries are working so that the HIV test is seen simply as one more test, which will help to know the state of health and to act accordingly.

Risk determines frequency

In general, it is recommended that everyone get an HIV test at least once in their lifetime as part of a health assessment. However, the risk factors present in each person’s life change the recommended frequency for testing.

We must not forget that HIV tests, whether carried out in public institutions or in civil organizations, are health supplies that must be well managed. If someone is very young and hasn’t been sexually active, hasn’t had surgery, hasn’t used injection drugs, and doesn’t have a mother or father with HIV, the risk of them becoming infected is very low, therefore, there would be no point in testing them.

On the contrary, if a person (regardless of age) is sexually active and has not used a condom in all their contacts, it may be suggested that they get tested once a year.

For those who engage in higher-risk practices, such as anal sex without a condom, anal sex with multiple partners, or intravenous drug injection, it may be beneficial to get tested more often, every six or even three months.

However, if you are sure that you have been exposed to HIV through any of its transmission routes, it is recommended that you get tested three months after exposure and another six months after exposure, if the first one is negative.

The test result gives you certainty, whatever the result. If it’s negative, you’ll stop worrying and take better steps to protect yourself. And if you test positive, you can start medical care as quickly as possible, which will keep you healthy for a long time.

If you want to get a free HIV test and learn more about how you can protect yourself, remember that AHF Latin America and the Caribbean is present in 11 countries in the region. Locate our nearest office or write to us by Whatsapp.