Resource Round-Up: Your Resolutions for 2014
What are your resolutions for the new year? If they include getting tested for HIV, talking to your doc about treatment, and/or choosing strategies to have sex you feel good about, then read on for resources to help you stick with them. (And if your resolutions don’t include HIV prevention or HIV health, then really read on! There’s something for everyone in this resource round-up.)
Resolution: Know Your Status
Learning your HIV status is the first step toward finding the right HIV prevention tools to avoid infection or getting the medical care, treatment, and support you need to stay healthy. And as increasing evidence supports early treatment, the push for more frequent testing is growing.
How can you get tested? There are plenty of ways: Ask your doctor for an HIV test, head to your local health clinic for a confidential or anonymous test, buy a home testing kit right off the pharmacy shelf—or even climb aboard a mobile testing van.
- Enter your zip code in this searchable HIV test locator to find a testing site near you.
- Text your five-digit zip code to “KNOWIT” (566948) and get a text message back showing your nearest testing site.
- In San Francisco? Check out San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s HIV testing services, or use @testmeSF on Twitter to see when the big purple mobile testing van is coming to a neighborhood near you.
When you get your results, remember: This is an opportunity to take control of your own health and sexual wellness, whether that means finding prevention strategies that fit your life or getting into medical care to stay well with HIV.
Resolution: Make HIV Prevention Work for You—And Have Sex You Feel Good About
No HIV-prevention tool can promise 100% risk-free sex every single time you use it. Learn about your options, talk with your partner(s), decide what degree of risk you’re comfortable taking, and find a prevention strategy—or, better yet, a combination of strategies—that works for you.
- Condoms are a powerful tool for preventing HIV transmission or acquisition. Find free condoms by zip code, or find out if agencies in your city offer free condom pick-ups or deliveries. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, are just a handful of cities with free condoms (including female condoms) available by pick-up or mail.
- Get talking, and make informed choices about what kind of sex you’re going to have with a particular partner. Talking about HIV doesn’t need to be a mood-killer; click here to learn how two guys, one positive and one negative, have “the conversation” before getting it on.
- Is PrEP right for you? Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves taking a daily pill to prevent HIV infection—and it works remarkably well among people who take it consistently. Learn more here, and get answers to all your PrEP questions at PrEPfacts.org.
- Get a PrEP user and public health researcher’s frank, funny, and personal take on modern HIV prevention with BETA’s “Promiscuous Gay Nerd” column.
- For the latest on prevention science, including new tools in development, get nerdy with BETA’s “virtual library” of HIV prevention resources.
Resolution: Manage Your HIV Health—and Live Well with the Virus
Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been positive for years, brushing up on HIV science and learning novel ways to manage the disease can have long-term benefits for your physical and emotional health.
- A good relationship with your medical provider can translate to a healthier, happier you. Get tried-and true tips and tools for talking with doctors (and finding your ideal provider).
- Understanding your HIV treatment options (and finding resources to help you pay for and stick to your regimen) is vital to getting the most for your HIV care. Learn more here.
- Getting your viral load down to undetectable levels is a key goal of antiretroviral therapy; learn how to “get to undetectable,” and what it means for your own health and for your sex partners.
- As people live longer with HIV, doctors and researchers are focusing more attention on the intersection of HIV disease, HIV treatment, and health changes related to aging. Get facts, personal stories, and other resources with BETA’s HIV and aging “virtual library.”
Since BETA first launched in 1988, its mission has been to build health literacy—that is, to help people understand HIV science and use it to make informed choices around their own health and well-being. Here’s to a smart, healthy, and happy 2014!
What are your New Year’s resolutions about HIV and health—and how will you stick with them? Leave a comment and let us know!