Think you can look at a person and tell whether or not he or she has HIV? Well posornot.com, a website sponsored by mtvU, invites you to try. The new "game" shows you photos of people, tells you a little about their interests, and then asks you to guess if they are HIV positive or negative. When you play, not only will you realize that you can't judge a book by its cover, but you'll also be reminded of some important facts about HIV, such as:
- HIV is an equal opportunity disease, so even if you're on the pill or some other hormonal birth control, if you're unsure about a person's STI history, you should use a condom every single time you engage in sexual activity.
Want to see what else you should know and find out where you can get tested? Then read more.
- Sharing needles with people is one way to spread HIV, but other substances can increase your chances as well. If you drink or do other drugs, that makes you lose your inhibitions, and you may end up having unprotected sex, which could result in HIV.
- Tests for HIV (blood tests and oral swab tests) look for antibodies that your body produces if infected. Luckily there are now rapid tests available that can give you results within 20 minutes.
- Once someone is infected with HIV, it can take three to six months for the test to show up positive, so as soon as you become sexually active, it's a good idea to get tested regularly for all STIs, including HIV.
Remember that just because a person "looks" clean or says he's free of disease doesn't mean he is — an HIV test is the only way to know for sure. To find a testing center near you, text your zip code to KNOWIT , call 1-800-CDC-INFO [232-4636], or check out this website.