An HIV test is used to determine if a person has HIV or not. The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested.
What if HIV testing was just part of your regular sexual health routine?
Whether he’s poz, neg, or undetectable, and whether you want to top or bottom, knowing your HIV status, and his, will help you make informed decisions about the sex you want.
Many of us know that testing for HIV is an important way to manage our sexual health, but some of us are not getting tested or getting tested enough. So how often should you get tested?
If you’re having condom-less anal sex with guys who have a different status than you, or guys with an unknown status, then you’ll want to test every 3 months.
If condoms are your preferred sexual health strategy each time you have anal sex, or if you just like to give and receive oral sex, testing yearly is a good way to go.
If you and your regular partner or partners are thinking of giving up condoms, get tested first for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. You could also explore using PrEP.
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV and have symptoms like a rash, a fever or flu-like symptoms, get tested as soon as you are able to. It’s important to know that not everyone who gets HIV will experience these symptoms.
In fact, most new cases of HIV are happening when one person doesn’t know that they have recently become HIV-positive.
This means they have not been tested and are not using HIV treatment to maintain their health. The chance of transmission is at its highest in this early stage.
If you test HIV-positive, the best thing for your health is to start treatment as soon as you can.
Medicines to treat HIV have come a long way and offer little to no side effects. Early treatment also reduces the likelihood of HIV transmission to sexual partners.
You can be healthy and have the sex you want when you’re living with HIV. While you’re testing for HIV, it’s good to get tested for STIs too.
STIs increase the likelihood of passing on or getting HIV, so all guys, both HIV-positive and negative, should consider testing regularly for STIs like syphilis and gonorrhea.
A great way to reduce STIs and HIV in our community is to test frequently and treat early. You can get tested for STIs and HIV at your doctor’s office, some walk in clinics or a sexual health clinic. HIV tests are highly accurate, and free.
If privacy is a concern, know that all HIV testing is confidential. Most locations require a health card, and some require an appointment too.
But with an “anonymous HIV test”, you don’t need a health card. Instead you get an ID number and the test results aren’t linked to any of your personal information, like your name.
Your local HIV/AIDS service organization is a safe place where you can ask questions about testing. They can also help you find testing locations and connect you to services that are convenient and LGBTQ friendly.
Knowing your HIV status is one way to look out for yourself and the guys you have sex with, and can help you make more informed choices about the sex that you want.
For more information on HIV and STI testing, visit thesexyouwant.ca.