23 Reasons for Taking the Test:

1. Knowing that you are HIV negative may provide that encouragement that's needed to stay negative.

2. If you are HIV negative, then you will learn ways to remain negative.

3. If you are HIV positive, you will learn ways to keep from getting infected with a different strain (maybe stronger virus) than what you have.

4. If you are HIV positive, you will also learn ways to keep from infecting your partners.

5. With new drug therapies, people are living longer with this virus; however, you must know your HIV status before you can begin drug therapies.

6. Some people have an intense fear that they are already positive; in reality, they may not be....but they won't know that until they are tested!

7. Knowing that you're negative can help you stay motivated to practice safer sex.

8. Benefits of testing at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness STD Specialty Clinic include access to getting the hepatitis B vaccine. Unfortunately, a large number of people continue to get hepatitis B, which could have been prevented if they had been vaccinated.

9. If you find that you are positive, you can see a doctor about the new treatments that are helping people with HIV stay healthy. Things like pneumonia (which has killed many people with AIDS) can now be prevented with drugs and vaccines.

9. Other STD's (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) further complicate the progression of HIV and AIDS, and by knowing your STD status, you can protect yourself from further complications.

10. While HIV testing by itself will not protect you from ever getting HIV, the knowledge and skills you learn through the counseling and testing sessions can help you learn ways to reduce your risk of getting this virus.

11. If you test negative today, unsafe sex and sharing drug needles can give you HIV tomorrow.

12. If you test positive, you will be referred to physicians for other medical care and to appropriate resources for emotional support.

13. If you are positive, you can learn how to keep your immune system strong.

14. Testing can reduce your anxiety and may help you make changes to improve your quality of life.

15. HIV vaccine may be in the future. Knowing your HIV status is important because a person must be HIV negative in order for the vaccine to work.

16. The counseling/testing sessions are conducted by well-trained, sensitive counselors who are non-judgmental. While counselors will help the client discover his actual risks for this virus, counselors do not force clients to disclose anything they are uncomfortable talking about.

17. Many people don't think about getting an HIV test because they assume that the test is done when they go to their private doctor for annual check-ups. That is not true. Unless you ask your doctor specifically to do an HIV test, none will be performed.

18. If a doctor performs the HIV test in his/her office, you will be billed for both the office visit and the test - which can be quite expensive; if you come to the Specialty Clinic, the test is absolutely free!

19. If you have the test done at your doctor's office, there will be a record of this test being performed. There is a possibility that this information could be forwarded to your insurance office. If you don't want your HIV status known to other people, then come to the Specialty Clinic, where all tests are given anonymously (without your name).

20. Some people don't test because they believe that their partners are being faithful and that both share the same definition of mutual monogamy and the ground-rules of the relationship. Reality is - can you trust your partners to be faithful? Can your partner trust you to be faithful? You are really putting your life in someone else's hands if they are not faithful to you.

21. Testing can clear up any misinformation or myths you may have heard about this virus. Get the facts! Know what is high risk behavior and know how you can reduce your risk of getting this virus.

22. Having a fear of needles may keep some people from being tested. However, getting this virus means that you are going to have to deal with a whole lot more needle sticks in your life.

23. Right now, you may not have a high level of hope or self-love and as a consequence, you may not see a reason for staying HIV negative. However, most people who feel this way generally feel differently within a few months and have every reason for staying negative and staying healthy.