For a long time now, we have been living in the age of free and anonymous HIV testing. Unfortunately, testing for HIV continues to stand at the very back of the public mindset and the main reason for this is the lack of sexual education in Bulgaria. Institutions such as the Ministry of Health and the NHIF continue to treat the LGBTI+ community as something invisible. There are no gay men around, and if there happen to be some, it is just few of them and they are having sex somewhere discreetly. Most GPs see everyone as heterosexual and often do not make the important difference between HIV and AIDS. Anal sex is something that should not be discussed, some say.
It is clear, once again, that we have to help ourselves. Here is something very important to share with everyone: regular HIV testing is the fastest way to end HIV/AIDS.
What does this mean?
When every person, who practices sex with more than one partner, gets tested for HIV every three months, society ensures itself the end of the epidemic.
HIV testing every three months brings all the necessary benefits:
1) If a person is living with HIV, they find out about it within a few months after infection.
2) They will be advised to start antiretroviral therapy immediately (free for all, regardless of the health insurance status), which will reduce the amount of HIV in the body to undetectable levels.
3) Immediate treatment optimally preserves health (the earlier the treatment starts, the better the immune system is preserved), allows for a long and productive life, and the undetectable viral load eliminates the possibility of HIV transmission through sex.
4) Minimizing the period from the day of infection to the start of treatment to just a few months, dramatically reduces the time frame during which a person is unaware of their HIV status. In more direct words, the period during which an HIV-positive person is infectious is optimally shortened.
When this practice reaches an exponential trend, the Bulgarian society will be able to put an end to HIV.
Get tested for HIV every three months, free of charge and anonymously at one of these places. Advise all of your friends to do the same.