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Martinsburg VA Medical Center

 

HIV Testing for World AIDS Day

November 28, 2011

World AIDS Day is December 1 and the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center is dedicated to diagnosing HIV infection as soon as possible so that Veterans can receive the appropriate health care and remain healthy for many years to come. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest single provider of HIV care in the United States.  In 2009, more than 24,000 Veterans with HIV were treated, yet less than 15 percent of Veterans in VA care have ever been tested for HIV.  That needs to change.  The Martinsburg VA Medical Center will offer testing on Thursday, Dec. 1, and Thursday, Dec. 15, from 9 to 2 p.m. in the main lobby behind the elevators.  For more information, contact Beverly VanMetre at 304-263-0811, extension 3511.

Why get an HIV test?  An HIV test is the only way to be certain about your HIV status.  You can show no symptoms for years, but it is much better to find out sooner rather than later.  The earlier HIV is detected, the sooner a person can receive care provided by VA and begin taking steps to remain healthy for many years and even decades.  Your HIV test result will not affect your VA care or your eligibility for VA benefits.  You can also refuse HIV testing without losing your rights to VA care or benefits.  HIV testing is available to all Veterans in VA care, and it is the Veterans’ choice to have the test or not.

Who should get an HIV test?  Public health experts and health care providers recommend that all adults get tested for HIV as part of their routine medical care.  Everyone—not just people who think they are at risk—should get tested at least once in their life.  For people who engage in high‐risk behaviors, more frequent HIV testing is recommended.

Even if you do not think you are at risk, you should talk to your provider about taking the HIV test.  For more information, go to www.hiv.va.gov.