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HIV Testing Is Key to Early Detection

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS, and testing is necessary to detect the disease, which is incurable and fatal without treatment.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently issued recommendations that individuals ages 15 to 65 and all pregnant women be screened for HIV. Benefits include early detection before symptoms begin and treatment that can help decrease transmission of the virus.

“Being tested for the HIV virus, and getting treatment if you are infected, are the most important first steps you can take to maintain your health and financial stability,” said Tai Venuti, manager of Strategic Alliances at Allsup ( “HIV/AIDS can be diagnosed before symptoms develop, and the earlier you’re treated, the better your outcome will be.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. About 240,000 of those people don’t know they are infected.

An HIV-infected individual may develop AIDS after 10 to 15 years, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Awareness of their medical status can help people:

  • Benefit from therapies that can help them live healthier longer.
  • Protect their partners from becoming infected.
  • Benefit from healthy decision-making.
  • Stop the spread of HIV.

The HIV/AIDS virus can cause severe fatigue and affect an individual’s ability to work. The Social Security Administration recognizes the virus as a potentially disabling condition. Those who have severe disabilities because of HIV/AIDS can seek benefits through the SSDI program.

For information on HIV testing, talk to a healthcare provider or find the nearest HIV testing center online at

CDC also offers a telephone hotline, CDC-INFO from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, at (800) 232-4636, for English and Spanish speakers. TTY is (888) 232-6348. These resources are confidential.

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