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Importance of regular HIV testing & early anti-retroviral treatment

Testing can be a daunting prospect because there’s the fear that the results may be positive.

How often should one test for HIV?
How often one should test is unique to each individual and depends on the risk involved with sexual behaviour.

It is, however, generally recommended that one should screen for HIV every 3 months.

The benefits of regular HIV testing and early Anti-retroviral treatment

If you are HIV-positive, the sooner health care professionals can take action to make sure you stay as healthy as possible the better:

  • It helps prevent the later consequences of HIV;
  • If you start on ARVs at a higher CD4 count [the number of disease-fighting cells in your body that HIV targets] you are less likely to not experience the illnesses that define AIDS. Illnesses that could have long-term consequences on your body and your future;
  • Starting treatment sooner rather than later helps your immune system to recover faster and more effectively;
  • If you are infected with HIV, it’s not only your own health that benefits from early testing and treatment, but also your partners’;
  • Being on ARV treatment can actually reduce the chances of you transferring the virus to another person;
  • Since the introduction of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in South Africa in 2004, the average life expectancy for men has increased from 45 to 54 years.