Quality of care for Veteran’s includes raising awareness around important health topics. By highlighting some of the national health awareness campaigns each month, Veterans can get ideas, information, and resources on a variety of health matters.
December is HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, and VA wants to remind everyone about the importance of getting tested. One of VA's ongoing missions is to raise awareness around HIV/AIDS, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
The VA is the largest single provider of HIV care in the United States, providing care to more than 26,000 Veterans with HIV in 2012. Yet only 25 percent of Veterans in VA care have been tested for HIV. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV to reach this stage. One in 5 of the more than one million people living with HIV in the United States is unaware of his or her infection.
To help promote early diagnosis of HIV and to simplify the testing process, Veterans are able to provide verbal consent for voluntary HIV testing. Also, lengthy pre/post-test counseling is no longer required; rather, providers must give patients written materials on HIV. Another important change is that HIV testing is no longer limited to only those Veterans who identify risk factors or risky behaviors. Voluntary HIV testing is now recommended as a part of routine medical care for all Veterans.
What can you do? Get tested! Early diagnosis of HIV may substantially reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
Watch the video below to see how easy it is to get tested at your local VA.
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