December 1st is World AIDS Day, and if you haven’t been tested for HIV and AIDS, now is the perfect time. Many people in the early stages of HIV don’t have any symptoms and don’t realize they have it, so getting tested is the best way to catch and treat it early. Medicare covers yearly screenings for those who are at risk for HIV and AIDS, and now is the perfect time to take advantage of them.

About HIV and AIDS

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, affects the body’s ability to fight off infection. It is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids like semen or blood, and is most commonly spread by having unprotected sex or sharing injection needles. After initial exposure to HIV, many people will experience a flu-like illness, although not all do. The virus then stays in a dormant phase, where you can transmit it to others but likely won’t experience any symptoms.

If HIV is left untreated, it progresses and becomes AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. At this point, your body will lose its ability to fight off other illnesses. Some of the most common symptoms of AIDS include extreme fatigue and weight loss, purple, brown, or pink splotches on the skin, ongoing fever, pneumonia, and memory loss.

HIV and AIDS can be treated with medication to lower your viral load and minimize the risk of transmission to a partner. Those who have a partner with HIV or AIDS can reduce their risk of contracting it by taking PrEP or PEP.

Medicare and HIV/AIDS Testing

If you have Medicare Part B, you’ll qualify for a yearly HIV test. Anyone who asks can get the test, but it’s particularly important for those who are at higher risk for the virus. This includes gay and bisexual men, people who have multiple sexual partners at once, or those who use injection drugs.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll likely also be covered for testing. Medicare Advantage and Part D plans also cover antiretroviral medications needed to treat HIV. Medicare Advantage plans vary in coverage levels, so you’ll need to check your current plan for detailed information on what is covered.

Stopping the Spread of HIV/AIDS

The best way to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS is to use condoms and practice safe sex. It’s also very important to get tested regularly and know your status to reduce the chances of spreading it to others. It’s also important to avoid injection drugs wherever possible. Those who do use injection drugs should use a clean needle every time and avoid sharing needles.

If you haven’t been tested for HIV recently, now is the perfect time to do so. Medicare plans cover regular HIV testing. If you’re interested in Medicare coverage, our licensed insurance agents can help. Fill out this form or give us a call today to learn more about your Medicare options.