VA Maryland Health Care System
Get Checked. Say “Yes” to the Test.
Get Checked. Say yes to the Test.
Did you know that for most people it takes three months, and in rare cases, six months for antibodies to develop as a result of an HIV/AIDS infection? During this "window period" of early infection is when a person is the most contagious.
Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and Anthony Amoroso, MD, director of the Baltimore VA Medical Center HIV Care and Infectious Disease Clinic and assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, recommends getting tested for HIV/AIDS three months after possible exposure. Dr. Amoroso also says that symptoms of HIV/AIDS are mainly symptoms of opportunistic infections and thus, it is impossible to look at someone and tell if they have HIV/AIDS. "Anyone who is sexually active should be tested," he says.
According to Amoroso, knowing your HIV status has two benefits. "First, if you test positive for the infection, you can take the necessary steps before symptoms appear to get treatment, care and support, prolonging your life for many years. Second, if you test positive, you can take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of HIV to others and if you’re a pregnant woman, you have the opportunity to protect your unborn child from the infection.
VA is the largest single provider of HIV health care in the U.S. In 2009, more than 24,000 HIV infected Veterans received health care in VA. Yet, currently less than 15 percent of Veterans have ever been tested for HIV in the VA health care system. The VA is encouraging every Veteran to get tested for HIV at least once. Unfortunately, too many Americans who are infected with HIV learn about their positive status late into the course of their disease.
The VA encourages everyone to be screened for HIV/AIDS. If you are a Veteran and haven't yet been screened, call 1-800-463-6295, ext. 7333 today to make an appointment! If you’re not a Veteran, here is a list of places to be screened for free: