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Know Your Status: The Importance of HIV and Hepatitis C Testing Ahead of Pride Month

Blog contribution: Bay Area Community Health

As we gear up for Pride Month, it’s essential to celebrate our identities while also taking charge of our health. Knowing your HIV and Hepatitis C (Hep C) status is a crucial step toward maintaining your well-being and protecting our community.

The Health Benefits of Knowing Your Status

Early detection of HIV and Hep C leads to more effective treatment, better health outcomes, and a higher quality of life. By knowing your status, you can take proactive steps to manage your health. Early treatment for HIV can keep your immune system strong, and Hep C can often be cured with appropriate medication. Additionally, being aware of your status helps prevent the spread of these infections to others, fostering a healthier community.

“Early detection is key to managing and treating both HIV and Hepatitis C effectively. It not only significantly improves individual health outcomes but also plays a critical role in preventing the spread of these infections within our community” says HIV Program Supervisor, Aliaa Bilal.

When and How Often to Get Tested

Routine testing is essential, especially for those at higher risk. This includes individuals who engage in unprotected sex (frontal or anal) with partners whose HIV status is unknown or those who share intravenous needles. Everyone should get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine healthcare. Those with higher risk factors should consider more frequent testing.

  • Initial Testing: Establish a baseline with your first test for HIV and Hep C.
  • Routine Testing: If you’re sexually active, especially with multiple partners, get tested every 3 to 6 months.

After over 40 years of HIV prevention efforts, we have many biomedical interventions to protect against HIV infection, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

  • PrEP: For those at risk of HIV but not yet infected, PrEP involves taking medicine regularly to reduce the risk of transmission by about 99% through sex and at least 74% for those who inject drugs.
  • PEP: For emergency situations after possible HIV exposure, PEP must be started within 72 hours and involves taking a short course of HIV medicines to prevent the virus from taking hold.

Free Testing Campaign at BACH

To support community health, Bay Area Community is running free testing campaigns. For the latest schedule or more information, call our Transvision team on 408-493-3937 or check our social media pages: Instagram @transvisionbach

Aliaa adds “Our clinic’s free testing campaigns have a profound impact on community health by providing accessible and confidential testing services. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these opportunities to know their status and take charge of their health.”

Additionally, BACH offers take-home rapid tests and STD and Hep C tests for those who prefer privacy.

Encouraging Testing Ahead of Pride Month

Pride Month is a time for celebration and empowerment. Taking the step to know your status is a powerful way to care for yourself and your community. Health and wellness are integral parts of the LGBTQ+ community’s strength and resilience.

Mark your calendar for June 27, National HIV Testing Day. This is a great opportunity to take charge of your health. Reach out to our team and get tested.

This Pride Month, make your health a priority. Visit our Mowry location for a free test and encourage your friends and loved ones to do the same. Knowing your status not only helps you but also protects those around you.

“Getting tested at BACH was simple and reassuring. Knowing my status has given me peace of mind and a sense of control over my health. I highly recommend everyone to take this important step,” shared Alex, a community member.

By getting tested and knowing your status, you contribute to a healthier, stronger community. Join us this Pride Month in prioritizing health and well-being for all. Together, we can make a difference!

Learn more about Bay Area Community Health Here.