Why HIV testing is better these days -- and what to know before you go.
"Gee, I must really care for you, because I've never considered doing
this before. Not even for myself."
Justin rolled up the sleeve of his grey sport shirt and braced for the
needle as Becky looked on. As their friendship grew, Justin had opened up about
his turbulent past, including drug use and promiscuity. And as the relationship
turned romantic, Becky issued an ultimatum: No sex without an HIV test.
If you're HIV-positive, nutrition and HIV is a subject you'll want to pay special attention to. That's because your body will undergo changes, both from medications and the disease itself. For example, you may experience extreme weight loss, infections, or diarrhea. Another common change is lipodystrophy (fat distribution syndrome) which can cause body shape changes and increases in cholesterol levels. Making improvements in your diet can improve your health and how well you feel. Here are a few...
They were tested together. And they returned together for the results,
trembling as the lab technician handed them plain white envelopes. They opened
them in a stairwell outside the clinic. When Justin saw the results -- negative
for both of them -- he dropped to one knee and proposed to Becky, right then
"He was dead serious," Becky says. "He felt the gods were
smiling on him. It was like a reprieve from his past sins."
Two years later, there are still no wedding vows. But Becky and Justin live
together happily in the mountains above Asheville, N.C. The test results are
pinned to a billboard in their home, a reminder of an experience that
galvanized their relationship.
"It really solidified a friendship," Becky says. "And it made us
realize the emotional support we could give each other."
"Justin" and "Becky" asked for their real names to be
withheld to protect their privacy.
One of out of three people infected with HIV in the U.S. doesn't know it,
according to the CDC. Many of them are unknowingly spreading the disease to
people they love.
If you're sexually active and haven't been tested, there are two things you
HIV is no longer a death sentence. Thanks to new medications, many people
with HIV can live their natural lifespan without developing AIDS.
At many places you can get tested anonymously, so that nobody -- not your
parents, siblings, friends, or teachers -- will find out about the test. Thanks
to new tests, you won't even have to suffer a needle jab.
This article will help you prepare for your test. It will tell you when and
where to get tested, what a test is like, and what to expect when you get the
When to Test
"Basically, anyone who has had more than one sex partner should be
tested," says John Flaherty, MD, director of the HIV Center at Northwestern
Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "If you're having new partners from one year
to the next, you should be tested on a routine basis, even if you're using
Too many people come to Flaherty's clinic sick only after their HIV
infection has developed into full-blown AIDS -- in other words, too late to
treat. They could have survived into old age if they had only been tested and