Push for Routine HIV Testing

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

The next time you go for a checkup, the doctor may recommend an HIV test. The CDC is encouraging all Americans ages 13 to 64 to get tested regularly.

“When you get tested regularly you know your status, you're able to prevent yourself from spreading the disease to others if you have it. If you catch it early enough you're more likely to slow the process of the virus down," said Patrick Patterson, who is an HIV educator and empowerment coordinator.

Health officials say 250,000 Americans live with HIV unaware they have it. A sick visit to the doctor is when many find out.

That's what happened to Randall Zigler who's lived with HIV for 20 years.

"At first I had a lot of emotions about it, but after that I just prayed and overcame it and got help."

Big Bend Cares and other health organizations praise the new recommendations.

Melissa Walton of Big Bend Cares hopes more people will learn whether they have it, and if they do the hope is to get early access to treatment.

"We do still see people who end up in the emergency room and their virus is now at full blown AIDS, so it’s difficult at that point to get treatment. It's possible, but it's more difficult than if you were to discover you were positive early on."


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