HIV tests are scary: You’re trying to find out if you have a disease that there’s no real cure for yet, and as a result, a lot of people are happier not knowing. But as you probably know, that whole “ignorance is bliss” thing is dangerous. Thankfully, you can get an HIV test at home–and experts say this may be the best way to curb the disease from spreading to others.
One expert explained, “Thirty years into the HIV epidemic, there is no vaccine in sight. Treatment as a prevention strategy has been known to work, but uptake of HIV screening seems to be limited by a societal problem — HIV stigma and perceived discrimination.”
In normal words? People are afraid they’re going to be judged if they go for an HIV test, so a lot of people simply aren’t getting tested.
Thankfully, at home HIV tests may encourage people to put their safety first since there’s more privacy: you don’t have to sit in a waiting room with people staring at you, you don’t have to explain your past to a doctor or nurse–you can just pick up an HIV test and take it yourself in the privacy of your own home. (This also explains why home pregnancy tests are so popular.)
Another perk to at home HIV tests? You don’t have to draw blood for them. (As someone who is deathly afraid of needles, this is so comforting to me!) You can use a swab and snag some saliva and get your results that way–which sounds so much less painful and horrifying, doesn’t it?
And studies show–not surprisingly–that people like at home HIV tests better than going to an office or clinic . . . and that they’d rather spit on a swab than stab themselves with a needle. Big shock!
No matter what kind of HIV test you get, if you’re sexually active, you should get something. And remember: Anyone who judges you for being responsible about your health and keeping yourself and your partner safe is an idiot. Period.
Would you be more likely to get an HIV test if you could do it yourself at home? Do you think there’s still a stigma associated with getting an HIV test? Have you ever had a scare involving an HIV test? Tell us in the comments!