The following release is by the New Jersey AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline.
(New Jersey) – HIV is a treatable, chronic illness thanks to major advancements in HIV research. Getting tested for HIV is the best way to help end HIV in your community. HIV testing is an important step in protecting your health and the health of your sex partner(s).
June 27th marks the annual observance of National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a day to encourage everyone to know their HIV status by getting tested. This year’s theme, “My Test, My Way,” emphasizes that there are many testing options and places a person can get tested for HIV, including doing it themselves at home. Testing is the only way to be sure of HIV infection. Learn more about at-home HIV testing kits in New Jersey. It is not only important to know your HIV status, but also the HIV status of your sexual partner(s).
Anyone having sex (regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual identity or sexual orientation) is at risk of getting or passing HIV. Everyone who is sexually active and/or uses drugs should get tested for HIV regularly. Some sex practices and behaviors carry a higher risk of exposure to HIV than others. If you are at higher risk for HIV, get tested for HIV more often.
It's common for someone to pass HIV to others through sex or drug use without knowing it. Many people live with HIV for years before being diagnosed and starting treatment. Testing not only helps diagnose people who think they may have been exposed to HIV, it also diagnoses people who didn’t know they were living with HIV.
Proven prevention options like PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) are available to reduce new HIV infections. Starting treatment with HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) as soon as possible after being diagnosed is key to lowering the amount of HIV in the body. Continuing treatment keeps the virus under control and helps people with HIV stay healthy, live longer, and lower their risk of HIV-related illnesses. It also prevents them from passing HIV to others.
Although there is no cure for HIV, testing and early detection of HIV leads to better health outcomes for people with HIV. Not only is HIV testing key to living healthy with HIV, it’s an important link to prevention services for those who do not have HIV.
If you test positive for HIV (have HIV):
- continue using safer sex practices to lower your risk of passing HIV.
- start HIV treatment right after getting your positive test result.
- treatment is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long you’ve had the virus or how healthy you are.
- share your HIV status with previous and current sex partners(s) and anyone you use needles or syringes with to inject drugs.
- get and keep an undetectable viral load (very low amount of HIV in the body) so you can stay healthy and not pass HIV to others through sex.
- continue using condoms the right way every time you have sex to prevent getting common sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and hepatitis.
If you test negative for HIV (do not have HIV):
- continue using safer sex practices to lower your risk of getting the HIV.
- talk to your sex partner(s) about testing and their HIV and STI status.
- make testing part of your yearly health checkups. If you are at high risk for HIV, get tested more often.
- talk to your healthcare provider about using HIV medicines to prevent getting HIV if you are at high risk of getting HIV or were recently exposed to HIV: PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)
- continue using condoms the right way every time you have sex to prevent getting common sexually transmitted infections.
Get Tested. Stop HIV.
New Jersey offers free HIV and other STI services to all state residents via the hotline. Knowing who to call for resources and information is the first step in ending the HIV epidemic in New Jersey. The hotline is staffed by health professionals (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide free, confidential help: Call: 1-800-624-2377; Text: 973-339-0712, or chat here
- Referrals for testing, prevention, treatment, and other related services
- Prevention and treatment information for HIV, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections
- Information on the side effects of medicines used to treat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
- Referrals to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) services
- Counseling and treatment locations
- Referrals to harm reduction centers (syringe access available)
- Partner notification services
- New Jersey's AIDS Drug Distribution Program (ADDP)