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.

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Published on Nov. 30, 2012

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  1. Elijah Asher December 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Sure sounds to me that this VA nurse was engaging in an effort by VA to make a record of all those who may have engaged in homosexual practices since their last VA visit for medcial care. Why didn’t she merely ask if he has had a tetanus shot within the time frame of concern for such a common minor injury such as an ankle laceration? Why just the HIV test?? Dear readers, this is just one more of a long line of practices VA engages in to surreptiously invade the privacy of veterans by asking such loaded pre-qualifying medical questions. She may just as well have asked, “Have you engaged in homosexual activity since your last VA visit. If so, you need to be tested while you are here for this minor treatment.” The test produced for VA only the information that the veteran was “concerned” enough to ask for an HIV test, thereby pre-qualifing him (or her) under the circumstances as potentially or actively Gay. Otherwise, we must ask, what does an ankle laceration have to do with whether I may have HIV??

    • ASK NOD December 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Very well said, Elijah Asher. In the same vein, it should be noted that Vietnam Vets are 67% more likely to have HCV than other Vets. Additionally, Vets as a subset, are 30% more likely to have HCV than non-vets prior to 1998. Yet where is the hue and cry at the VA to have these “at risk” Vets tested? Science cannot simply ascribe this “drug addicts” anymore than they can ascribe HIV to gays.There was a time up to 2004 where they were tested surreptitiously without their consent and positive HCV results were rarely divulged to the party. Many read about it when they obtain their medical records to file claims for entirely different diseases/injuries. Testing for HIV may be appropriate for the new “breed” of enlistees, but the appropriateness of testing Vets for HCV who served between 1956 and 1998 should be paramount on the VHA’s to do list. I have watched the BVA decisions for HCV since 1992. They have progressed exponentially over the years as more and more Vets discover this cryptogenic disease. Since it manifests itself subtly over thirty or more years, many of us are just now discovering it. My website at asknod.org explores this phenomenon and what to expect when filing. HIV is not nearly as infectious as HCV. It can only exist independently outside the body for mere hours whereas HCV can survive for four days. Your chances of winning the Powerball Lottery are far greater than picking up HIV from a lacerated ankle off a city street.

  2. Charles Etheridge December 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    The situation in which one may find one’s self positive sis no longer to be feared. I have been + now for nearly 22 years, and as a result of a recently erleased medicine that the Atlanta VA prescribes for me, my latest VL count is undetectable at less than 20 (TWENTY.) Ifully believe that it won’t be all that much longer till a total cure si evolved, which cold well eliminate this scourge from the world. The onlly drawback is that this drug (Atripla) lists at about $23,000 per year at this time, but surely that can be reduced.

  3. Charles Hunt December 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    If we all obeyed our Creator, JEHOVAH God, and only had sexual relations with our opposite sex spouse (and they only had sex with us) and we abstained from blood (including transfusions) then the scourge of a.i.d.s. would likely not have occurred and would surely not be to the degree that it is today. If we blame God for the consequences of our sin (deviation from His standard) we are blaming the wrong person.

  4. Robert December 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I like that testing is being done to weed out those who have AIDS but now we need to educate these people to stop having sex. I saw a program where Clinton was discussing with African people on how to stop the spread of AIDS. Some news reporter informed Bush about the meeting and asked him how he would stop AIDS. He said “Stop Having Sex.” Duh!
    Why do people believe that it is a “Right” to have sex other people. Where is the responsibility?
    Now they are teaching kids in school how not only to have sex but also to how to have gay sex. I do not believe this is a responsible act on behalf of schools or the government. How about teaching abstinence until a person gets married? I have changed the way I was brought up as a fornicator. We all marry ourselves to each other every time we touch someone intimately. 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 We become “One Flesh” joined together.

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