Have you joined in the fight against HIV? Getting tested for HIV and knowing your status is how you help end HIV in New Jersey.
HIV testing also connects you to other sexual health services that are important to your health and wellbeing. It provides the opportunity to discuss your sexual practices and risk, getting tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the right prevention and treatment options, and how to reduce HIV stigma.
February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), an opportunity to raise awareness within Black and African American communities about HIV infection, and the effective prevention and treatment options that are available today.
When compared to other races and ethnicities, HIV affects communities of color the most — higher rates of new HIV diagnoses and people living with HIV.
According to CDC's (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) latest data, HIV diagnoses have decreased overall in Black and African American communities. The decrease in HIV diagnoses was noted in all but one group — Black and African American people aged 25-34 years old which saw an increase in HIV diagnoses. Also reported, Black and African American gay, bisexual, and other men who reported male-to-male sexual contact had the highest number of new HIV diagnoses in 2018.
Sexual health is an important part of staying healthy. It is not only important to know your HIV status, but also the HIV status of your sexual partner(s). Sex partners need to talk openly about lowering their HIV and STI risk, sex and drug use history, getting tested, and prevention strategies and treatment options. Some sex practices and behaviors carry a higher risk of spreading HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. By sharing your HIV status with each other, you can take steps to keep both of you healthy.
Anyone is at risk of HIV and STI infections if they are sexually active or have a history of drug use. Testing is the only way to know for sure whether you have HIV. Testing should be part of your yearly health checkups. People living with HIV may never have symptoms or their symptoms may not appear for years. It is common for HIV to be passed to others without the person living with HIV knowing it. Protect yourself and your partner by using condoms correctly and every time you have oral, vaginal or anal sex.
If you test positive for HIV (have HIV):
- start HIV treatment right after getting your positive test result.
- share your HIV status with previous and current sex partners(s) and anyone you use needles or syringes with to inject drugs.
- get and keep an undetectable viral load (very low amount of HIV in the body) so you can stay healthy and not pass HIV to others through sex.
- continue using condoms the right way every time you have sex to prevent getting sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and hepatitis.
If you test negative for HIV (do not have HIV):
- continue using safer sex practices to lower your risk of getting the virus.
- talk to your sex partner(s) about testing and their HIV and STI status.
- make testing part of your yearly health checkups. If you are at high risk for HIV, get tested more often.
- talk to your healthcare provider about using HIV medicines to prevent getting HIV:
Get Tested, Get Treatment, Stay Undetectable, Stop HIV.
New Jersey offers free HIV and other STI services to all state residents via the hotline. Knowing who to call for resources and information is the first step in ending the HIV epidemic in New Jersey. The hotline is staffed by health professionals (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide free, confidential help: Call: 1-800-624-2377; Text: 973-339-0712, or chat here
- Referrals for testing, prevention, treatment, and other related services
- Prevention and treatment information for HIV, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections
- Information on the side effects of medicines used to treat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
- Referrals to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) services
- Counseling and treatment locations
- Referrals to harm reduction centers (syringe access available)
- Partner notification services
- New Jersey's AIDS Drug Distribution Program (ADDP)
Observance Day hashtags: #NBHAAD and #StopHIVTogether