CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - Thursday is National HIV testing day. 22News explains some startling numbers about the HIV virus.
June 27th marks an annual effort to get the word out about the importance of getting tested for HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS. Health experts say everyone who is sexually active should be tested for HIV.
Testing is covered by most insurance here in Massachusetts and many Tapestry clinics offer free testing. The test itself is a swab of the inside of the mouth. Results take about 20 minutes. A follow up blood test is only needed if the test is positive.
The Health Manager at Tapestry Health in Northampton told 22News that one in three people in Massachusetts that have HIV don't know they have it. But early detection is critical to managing the virus and ultimately prolonging life.
Health Manager Lucy Harty told 22News, "Its critical… it helps prevent the spread. If you don't know you are HIV positive it's a lot easier to spread the infection."
Health experts also told 22News that the at home test kit is fine if someone prefers the privacy. But that they recommend going in person to be tested so there is someone right there for support to answer any questions you may have.