“My Test, My Way” - National HIV Testing Day 2021
June 27, 2021, marks National HIV Testing Day, and this year’s theme is “My Test, My Way.” Despite declining teen birth rates and reports that teens are having less sex, STI rates are on an unprecedented rise. That’s why we’re encouraging you to celebrate National HIV Testing Day and Pride Month by getting tested for HIV!
And with so many options available for obtaining your test, it’s easier than ever to know your status and stay healthy. Whether you choose to self-test in your own space or find a testing site nearby, you have the power to take charge of our health in a way that works for you.
Here are two paths to getting tested for HIV:
During a routine check-up or gynecological visit, health care providers may or may not suggest HIV and STI screenings. We want you to have the tools to feel empowered to ask for HIV and STI screening during your annual check-ups—or more frequently if necessary. If you don’t want to wait for a routine check-up, your primary care physician can order a test for you. Our Bedsider Clinic Finder is just one of many online resources available to help folks to find a health care provider.
In the age of telemedicine, there are a lot of companies making it easier than ever to get tested for HIV with a simple finger prick. For example, Nurx offers a test for the three most common STIs and HIV. The tests are sent out immediately after the medical consultation, using two-day shipping and discrete packaging. Each one comes with instructions on how to collect your samples, depending on what you’re testing for. Seal it up, send it back, and then wait for your results to come via their app. If you test positive, your health care provider will take different steps depending on your results. Two other companies offering HIV testing that you can do completely at home are Everlywell and LetsGetChecked. Many telehealth companies accept insurance. Folks who aren’t insured can still save money, since in-person STI panels can cost upwards of $400, while telehealth options are often significantly less.
If you’re looking for a completely free option, the CDC recommends checking out TakeMeHome, a project from Let’s Stop HIV Together. TakeMeHome offers fast, discreet HIV oral rapid tests (with complete instructions) that you can administer yourself in the comfort of your own home. The CDC is covering the costs of up to two tests to use yourself or give away to others. Since this is a screening test, if the test is positive, you’ll need to follow-up with a confirmatory test and find services near you after you receive your results.
There are also telehealth companies that will set you up with an in-person lab visit if taking your own samples isn’t appealing to you. Some options include Lemonaid Health and STDCheck.
This National HIV Testing Day, empower yourself to chase your dreams and pursue your best life on your own terms—get tested, know your status, and encourage those you love most to do the same! You can join the conversation on social media with #HIVTestingDay and #StopHIVTogether.