With early detection and treatment, many people are able to live with asymptomatic HIV for many years before progressing to an AIDS diagnosis, which happens when they begin to experience one or more of a list of AIDS-defining conditions, or ADCs. Unfortunately, many older adults receive news of their HIV infection and their AIDS diagnosis at the same time, in large part because they are less likely to get tested and receive critical treatment in the early stages of their infection. It is increasingly common for people to live well, and for a long time, with an AIDS diagnosis; more and more evidence suggests that one of the best ways to improve your chances for a longer, healthier life – and minimize the chances of transmitting HIV to your sexual or drug-using partners – is to get tested and, if necessary, get into treatment right away.
There was a time when a blood draw (using needles) was necessary to get an AIDS test, but that is no longer the case: in many places you can be tested with a finger prick or a mouth swab. Thanks to the joint efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aids.gov, and the National Prevention Information Network, you can learn about HIV testing centers and other resources near you by entering your zip code below or by sending a text-message with your ZIP code to: KNOW-IT (566948).