AIDS Risk Factors

HIV and AIDS do not respect country borders, cultural boundaries, or religion. Anyone can be infected with the virus and many well known celebrities can verify this fact. Anyone can be at risk! If you have certain other risk factors you can have a much higher chance of developing AIDS.

Unprotected Sex

A person may have a higher risk of having the HIV virus or AIDS if they have had unprotected sex with many partners. Anyone, bisexual, homosexual, or heterosexual, can be risk for getting the HIV virus.

If you have had unprotected sex, without protection from a latex or polyurethane condom every time, you are at higher risk. If you had unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive you have a higher risk of getting the disease.

Existing STDs

If you have an existing sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis, or herpes, you are at increased risk of getting the HIV virus. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, or vaginosis are other diseases that can put you at higher risk. The immune system is already compromised if you have a sexually transmitted disease.

Blood Transfusions

Other increased risk factors are for hemophilia or had blood transfusions between 1977 and 1985. Any blood product you were given before April of 1985 can put you at risk for developing HIV virus and AIDS. If you share drug syringes and needles with other drug users, you raise the chances of getting the virus.

At risk people should contact a doctor and seek counseling if they know they may be infected with the HIV virus. If you know you are at a higher risk, you should be tested routinely for the HIV virus. Testing doesnt make you have the virus, but it can give you a step up and earlier treatment will prolong your life.

Many people fail to be tested because they are afraid of what they will find out, yet lives could be prolonged and treatment started earlier if they have routine testing. Your life and the lives of those you love around you depend on knowing if you are HIV positive or negative.

Where to get Tested

A private doctor, hospital, public health department or other public clinics can do testing. You may even be tested by Planned Parenthood clinics. You need to choose the site you would feel the most comfortable being tested in.

Dont let what other people might think discourage you from this important test if you know you are at high risk for HIV and AIDS. Many clinics and public health departments will test you free and you can receive counseling before and after the test is taken.

You should be aware that all states and territories of the United States report positive HIV and AIDS test results. This helps the government track the spread of the disease. You can still be assured that your name will not be released to the federal government, employers, family members, and insurance companies.

Any name-based data is strictly confidential and some states are using codes instead of names. You will likely need to give your name at some time if you test positive or ask for treatment, but you will still be given anonymity.