Everyone needs to get tested for HIV, VA and CDC say

Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs
By Connecting Vets

June 27 was  HIV testing day and this year the Department of Veterans Affairs marked the day by stressing the importance of testing to prevent the disease.

Around 31,000 veterans receive treatment for HIV throughout the VA health care system, according to a blog post from the department. The VA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone be tested at least once. In addition to HIV testing, you can ask about testing for other sexually transmitted infections. 

How did these small cities get to the top of the U.S.’s STD list? The military.

If you think you might be at risk, talk to your provider about how often you should be tested and about prevention methods, like:

  • Using PrEP. Pre-Exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily medication (Truvada or Descovy) that is highly effective at preventing HIV. PrEP is available at VA. Make sure you get a test before you start and stay up to date on STI testing while on PrEP. Learn more about PrEP.
  • Practicing safer sex. Condoms are available via prescription at VA. Ask your provider for a condom prescription at your next appointment.
  • Practicing safe injection drug use. If you need help to stop using drugs, please talk to your VA provider. If you inject drugs, make sure you use clean equipment every time. 

10 things every LGBTQ veteran should discuss with their health care provider

VA is also part of the  “Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” federal initiative. The program aims to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030 by leveraging critical scientific advances in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care by coordinating the highly successful programs and infrastructure. 

To learn more click here.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.
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