Black Women Encouraged to Take Control and Take the Test

Black women — more than any other women in the United States — are getting HIV.

Of all the women living with HIV in the United States, approximately 66 percent are African American.

In fact, at some point in her lifetime, one in 32 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. Most of these women, 87 percemt, got HIV by having unprotected sex with a man. Women in all kinds of relationships get HIV, even faithful women in committed relationships with good men.

If you’ve had unprotected sex with a man, you may be at risk. The fact is, unprotected sex is still the #1 way that women get HIV. He might be good-looking and educated. He might be someone you’ve known for years. But a good way to truly look out for yourself is to avoid risky sex and get an HIV test.

This is true for all women who have unprotected sex, not just for women who have had several partners.

Many women are afraid to get an HIV test because they are afraid of learning they have HIV. But more women now understand that it is better to take the test and know the result.

The good news is that more and more Black women are taking a stand against the spread of HIV. They are looking out for themselves. They are taking steps to stay healthy.

As June 27—National Testing Day—approaches and healthcare organizations, advocacy groups and professionals are encouraging all individuals to get tested and learn their HIV status.

Three good reasons to take charge and get an HIV test.

Finding out early can help you live a longer, healthier life.

If you’re HIV-positive, it means that the virus is inside you — even though you may not feel sick. And that’s why it is good to find out early. There are treatments now that are available to you that can keep you healthy. You can find support, so that you stay connected to care.

If you know, you can look out for yourself — and the people you love.

The earlier you know, the more you can do. Knowing early allows you to help yourself. And it may help you to be there for the people you love. Also, studies have shown that when people find out they have HIV, they are more likely to take steps to protect their health and that of their partners.

It’s easy. It’s free, fast, and confidential.

Many clinics and testing locations in your area offer free HIV tests. You can even get confidential or anonymous HIV tests. Call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) or visit http://hivtest.cdc.gov/takecharge/index.html to find out where you can get a free HIV test in your area.

The New Orleans Tribune

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