Doctors in Florida are recommending routine HIV testing to all patients regardless of the reason why they’ve gone to see them. They are asking patients to take a HIV test as they take other blood tests. The patients are given a choice to test or not. The main thing is that the idea is presented to them.
Routine HIV testing is now a major strategy to fight HIV AIDS and has been strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
High Cases of New Infections
Broward County has the second highest cases of new HIV and AIDS cases in Florida. This is why doctors are making effort to educate patients on HIV and routine testing. The more people go for testing, the higher the chances that they will be diagnosed early and start treatment with HIV PEP and ARVs as soon as possible. The earlier a patient starts treatment the healthier and longer life they will live.
Routine testing also eliminates HIV testing stigmatization. The CDC has recommended that people between 13 to 65 years to go for routine testing as long as they are having unprotected sex. We have now moved from encouraging routine testing for risk population to recommending that everyone goes for routine testing.
Many hospitals, clinics, physicians and medical providers in Florida are now encouraging patients to get tested for HIV but the Broward Department of Health as well as the CDC wants more medical practitioners to come on board.
Advantages of Voluntary HIV Testing?
There are many advantages of volunteering to take a HIV test for both the patient and their sexual partners. The important part is to ensure that the patients are provided with counselling before and after the test, care and support.
Let’s take a look at more advantages of HIV testing:
1. Improved Health Due to Early Medical Treatment
Voluntary counselling and testing is the beginning of care should an individual test positive. People who get tested are more likely to start on medication prolonging their lives and also preventing transmission to their sexual partners.
By getting to know your HIV status and starting medication, you reduce chances of getting opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that attack people who have low immunity and not healthy people. Once you know that you’re HIV positive you will receive prompt advice on good nutrition and self care to improve the quality of your life.
2. Make an Informed Decision
It’s difficult to make decisions about your life if you’re not aware of your status. You won’t be able to decide to take ARVs if you are not aware of your HIV status. But if you go for routine testing and you find out that you have the virus, it’s easy for you make wise decisions about your health. You will be able to ask for immediate HIV medication.
Once you know your status you can inform your sexual partner and you both decide on what to do now that one of you to have the virus. Should you continue having sex? Is it wise to try and have kids? What will you do about breastfeeding.
3. Prevents Transmission of HIV
Lack of HIV testing is one of the biggest reasons why new cases of HIV are still rising. If you don’t know that you’re HIV positive, you will continue to live a careless sexual life and in the process you infect many others. Once you know your status you will likely take steps to protect yourself and your sexual partners from transmission.
The HIV counselling offered before and after testing has been proven to motivate people to change their sexual behaviour and start behaving safely, preventing them from getting infected.