for Veterans and the Public
Are Veterans in VA being tested?
VA recommends that voluntary HIV testing be provided to all patients who receive medical care--even those Veterans who do not think that they have risk factors. HIV testing is "routine" so that persons who are infected can be diagnosed early on and receive life-saving care for themselves, and so they can avoid passing the infection to others. As with many other diseases, it is better to diagnose and treat HIV early. Today we are fortunate to have many effective treatments for persons living with HIV.
Veterans with risk factors should get tested for HIV at least once a year. Factors that suggest increased risk include a past or current history of a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea or syphilis, having sex without using a condom especially with more than one partner, having sex with a man who has sex with other men, or sharing needles and syringes to inject drugs.
Getting diagnosed and treated early can keep you healthy. Even if you do not think you are "at risk" you should talk to your provider about an HIV test. And if your provider doesn't bring up the subject of HIV testing, you should!