Finding your HIV status and attaining care and treatment will assist in staying healthy“If you find out your status, and you can get into care and treatment, you will stay healthy,” Pickett explained. “You can live a normal lifespan, which is something we couldn’t say when I tested positive in the ’90s.” Pickett noted there were fewer HIV tests done and fewer doctors’ visits for treating HIV during the pandemic. He hopes as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and learn about the option for self-tests at home, those numbers will climb. Pickett emphasized many appointments can be done via telehealth and expected technology to play a big role in HIV treatment going forward. “I would suggest people who are sexually active, think about getting tested every three months or so,” Pickett urged. “It’s just a good practice, and I would not only get tested for HIV but I would get tested for other STIs as well.” Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, echoed Pickett’s recommendation, and this year especially are highlighting the option for self-tests at home. Many local health departments and community organizations distribute free HIV self-tests, which can also be purchased at pharmacies or online. Reporting by Lily Bohlke
Illinois News Connection, a service of Public News Service, covers a broad range of issues with a focus on social services, growth, health care, environmental issues and state government. This coverage is made possible by funding from grants and contributions from individuals, non-profit and non-governmental organizations and foundations with an interest in seeing more news coverage on these and other subjects.