HIV-aids kills more than 13,000 Americans every year. The Center for Disease Control estimates if every person knew their HIV status, there would be a 96 percent drop in the spread of the virus.
HIV testing is quick and painless. A swab of the mouth and twenty minutes later, you know your status. But, it can be scary. Advocates like Tyler Boyet get that.
Boyet: “First off it’s important to congratulate people who are coming in for testing because it’s a big step.”
Boyet is a prevention manager with HIV Alliance.
Boyet: “And then maybe to ease that fear, I’d want to tell them that if the test were to be positive, it’s better to be positive now than it was to be positive in the early 80’s. There are a plethora of medications available now. And being positive and knowing so you can prevent spreading it to any of your partners or your loved one.”
Boyet says with knowledge comes power. If a person tests positive for HIV, they can then begin treatment. Last year, Lane County reported 11 new positive cases. Those at greatest risk for HIV are men who have sex with men, people using IV drugs and those who exchange sex for needs.