Today is World AIDS Day, a day created to unite people worldwide in the fight against HIV, as well as show support for those living with the disease, and to commemorate those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illness. It was founded in 1988 during the height of the HIV pandemic, and would turn out to be the first ever global health day.
Since then, medicine has made great strides towards finding a cure and giving those living with the disease a better quality of life. As of today, all those treated have an average life expectancy of 79 years – essentially a person who has contracted HIV can still live a full life without ever dying of an AIDS-related illness. Left untreated, though, the average life expectancy drops to 10 – 15 years.
As we stated in a post earlier this week, 1.1 million Americans have HIV, but 1 in 7 don’t know they contracted the disease. This is where STD testing becomes imperative. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should get tested right away:
- Sore throat
- Unexpected tiredness
- Lack of energy
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Aching joints and muscles
- Skin rash
However, many people have no symptoms of any kind when they are first infected. It can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks for symptoms to first appear. Not long enough to have a strong detriment to your health, but you can still infect others during that time.
So what happens when you go in for an HIV test? First, your doctor will most likely recommend a complete STD blood panel, which checks for a range of STDs including HIV 1 & 2, Hepatitis A, B & C, and RPR (or Syphilis). This blood test provides a fairly quick turnaround, usually 3-5 days, and does not require any fasting or other preparation.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite advances in care, STDs are at an unprecedented high in the United States and 15 – 24 year olds account for half of all new STD infections. So, getting regularly tested is a great first step. STD testing provides an opportunity to raise awareness about diseases like HIV and AIDS, helps to understand the variety of ways in which the disease is transmitted, and how preventative measures through the use of protection can play a key role in preventing the spread of this disease.
If you’re concerned for your health, or the health of someone you know, talk to your doctor about getting an STD blood panel that you can book through LabFinder, where the results will be readily available to both you and your doctor.
On World AIDS Day, taking care of your health is the best first step you can take in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
LabFinder is a no-cost, online platform for people to easily schedule their medical tests and view results securely. The LabFinder team is passionate about improving the ‘patient and doctor experience’ through better communication, reduce out-of-pocket expenses and making everyone know more about their own medical tests. The mission of LabFinder is simple: we want to be solution to you and get you the test results you deserve so you can make right choices about your health.