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HIV Testing and Linkage to Care
HIV testing is the first critical step to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States, and CDC recommends that all Americans aged 13-64 get tested at least once for HIV as a routine part of medical care, and that gay and bisexual men and others at high risk get tested at least once a year. HIV testing is the only way to identify the nearly one in six Americans currently living with HIV who do not know they are infected and may be unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.
Knowledge of HIV status is empowering. When people test negative, they are in a better position to assess – and can modify – their risk behaviors to help them stay uninfected. When people learn they are infected, research shows that they take steps to protect their own health and prevent HIV transmission to others.1 In addition, linkage to care helps ensure people living with HIV receive life-saving medical care and treatment, and helps reduce their risk of transmitting HIV (see “Treatment as Prevention” section for more information).
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