The first day of December means the holiday spirit is in full swing, but it’s also a time for a more sobering reflection.
It’s World AIDS Day, the day set aside by the U.K.’s National AIDS Trust for all of us to show our support, awareness and respect to those affected by the disease — and to unite in our fight against it.
And while wearing red or donating some of your hoarded pennies is a great start, the best way to stop HIV — and the spread of STDs in general — is to get tested.
Yes, that means you, even if you think you’re not at risk.
How to Find Free STD Testing in Your Area
To combat this important public health issue, many social service providers offer free or affordable testing for HIV, hepatitis and other STDs.
To find testing centers near you, plug your zip code into this free tool from the CDC.
Once the map of your area populates, you can filter for free HIV tests under the “HIV Tests” tab, and see the full list of each provider’s offerings.
And if you have insurance, check with your primary care doctor about getting tested. Under the Affordable Care Act, your insurance likely covers HIV testing as well as tests for other diseases.
As nerve-wracking as it can be to wait for those results, knowing for sure is empowering and potentially life-saving, whether you’re positive or not.
On World AIDS Day and every day, we owe that knowledge to ourselves… and to one another.
Your Turn: Do you know your status?
Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.