Health officials, experts urge people to know their HIV status

Do you know your HIV status? Sunday was National HIV/AIDS Testing Day, the beginning of a weeklong campaign to remind everyone how important it is to get tested for a disease that’s manageable and easily prevented.

Public health experts are working to make HIV testing a part of routine health care. Dr. Felix Carpio, medical director for AltaMed community clinics in the Southland, says patients used to have to request the tests – and jump through hurdles to get them.

"Now what we are looking for is to make sure that offering HIV tests are as common as a cholesterol test."

Dr. Carpio says anyone who has sex with a partner may be at risk and should be tested.

"Now with all the options in medication, we can manage HIV as a chronic illness, so it’s good to know your HIV status so you can prevent progression of the disease and reduce transmission to others."

The doctor says that although the federal Centers for Disease Control began to promote universal HIV testing four years ago, some medical providers haven’t incorporated it. For information about free testing near you, go HIVTest.org.

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