A nationwide push from the healthcare community urges everyone to get tested for HIV. The CDC recommends everyone get tested for HIV at least once in their life, but some people may want to consider getting tested more frequently.
Victoria Cammarata is the Complex Care Coordinator at the Thomas Judd Care Center and the PreVent Clinic in Traverse City (part of Munson Healthcare). She says since the start of COVID, HIV testing rates are down. But the rates of sexual activity and other risk factors are up. “HIV testing is down. We’ve seen the numbers decrease. But we know for sure that sexual activity and other risk factors that HIV is transmitted through, they are not down.”
That’s why, like many primary care doctors and health departments, Thomas Judd is participating in Monday’s National HIV Testing Day. Cammarata says testing is readily available, from doctors and clinics and even pharmacies and home test kits. “You can get tested at your primary care, your local health department, here at Thomas Judd. And the newest option that we have are the at-home testing kits. “
The Thomas Judd clinic will be open Monday for walk-in testing, it’s a quick finger prick and 20 minutes for results. “We are leaving our testing open that day so there will be people who are available here in our office to test if people decide they’re motivated to come in right then and there. We will test you. Otherwise we can set up an appointment. If our hours don’t work for people who need to come in later in the evening, if you just call we can accommodate after-hours testing.”
You can also call to make an appointment or , which is done with a simple cheek swab.
How frequently you are tested really does depend on your risk factors. “That’s a conversation we have here pretty frequently. Everybody’s situation is a little bit different,” Cammarata says. She also says that even bloodwork from a routine physical doesn’t necessarily check for HIV, so you should discuss with your doctor if you want to be tested. It’s all about “self- care, empowering people to take care of yourself. And know your status,” she says. “The greatest thing that can happen for someone who has HIV is to know that they have HIV. So that they can take the medication they need to keep them alive and well.”
Even routine bloodwork from a routine physical doesn’t necessarily check for HIV. So you should discuss with your doctor or health clinic if you want to be tested.
For more on the PreVent Clinic at Thomas Judd, or call .
HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your body and helps you stay healthy. There is no cure for HIV, but you can control it with HIV treatment. Most people can get the virus under control within six months. HIV treatment does not prevent transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases. To learn more about HIV, testing, and treatment, for the CDC Fact Sheet.