You’ve probably heard a lot about self-care lately. Many people have been looking for ways to protect and promote their physical and mental health by practicing self-care. HIV testing is an act of self-care, and knowledge of your HIV status is a great way to start prevention or treatment services that can help you live a long and healthy life.

On June 27 each year, we observe National HIV Testing Day, a day to talk about the importance of HIV testing and encourage people to say yes to the test.

National theme is “HIV Testing is Self-Care.” 

The World Health Organization defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health care provider.” Making sure you’ve had an HIV test is a simple way to practice self-care!

Next time you talk with your provider, double check that you’ve been tested. Doing so is recommended for everyone at least once in your lifetime. If you haven’t been tested yet, HIV testing is easy. After a routine blood test, you’ll receive your testing results. If you are positive, we can get you into care.

Being proactive about your health

Medicines used to treat HIV are highly effective and simple to take. If you’re negative, we will work with you on prevention methods to keep you negative, like condoms and HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP – a medication that can prevent HIV. Condoms can be prescribed by your VA provider.

Just ask at your next visit. If you have any questions or concerns, let your provider know.

HIV testing is one way to be proactive about your health and practice self-care. Here’s more information on HIV testing.

By Elizabeth Maguire is communications lead for the HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions Programs in VHA's Specialty Care Program Office

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Published on Jun. 27, 2022

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