When I gashed open my ankle on a mountain biking accident last year, I limped into my local VA emergency room to get patched up. While I sat waiting to be called, a nurse approached me with a question.
“Have you received an HIV test recently?” she asked.
“Maybe last year,” I replied.
The nurse tore open a swab kit and instructed me to let it sit in my mouth for a few minutes. Within half an hour, she came back with results. Negative. It was a relief I didn’t know I wanted until she asked.
It’s World AIDS Day on December 1, and for too many people around the globe, the relief of knowing never comes. About 1.2 million Americans live with HIV, yet one out of five don’t know it. VA has ramped up its free HIV testing to reach as many Veterans as possible, but you can be part of a solution. Ask for the test next time you seek care, even if you don’t think you’re at risk. It never hurts to know.
Check out VA’s page on HIV/AIDS for testing information, treatment options, frequently asked questions, and more.