Johnson City

Understanding who is at risk for HIV

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A local man, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke with to us about having HIV. He says it's just a part of life for him. "It's one of those things that just happens," he told us. "Life's not fair, but you have to make the best of what you have."

He tells us so far he has, and as long as he takes his medication, he feels totally normal. "I've had no problems for several years. These meds keep the HIV virus under control," he said.

And it also keeps those afflicted from spreading it. "We can decrease the amount of virus in that person, so they can't transmit it to other people and so the virus can't do any damage to the person infected," said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, an infectious disease physician.

HIV is a disease that lingers and you could have it for years before you even know it's there. "It's the kind of virus that hides in you for years before it decays your immune system enough for you to get sick," Dr. Moorman.

That means if you're infected, you could be spreading it without realizing.

Dr. Moorman tells News 5 you don't have to have multiple partners to be at risk. "You could just have the one wrong partner that has HIV and that's the whole point people don't know," he said.

Dr. Moorman says anyone from ages 13 to 65 should be tested. "There's always the fear of the unknown. You feel good. You feel like you don't have a problem, but you don't know [what you could have]," he explained.

Even if you think you don't have HIV, it's best to know your status. "It's important to be tested. It's important to get a negative result. It's important to get a positive result and be treated," said Dr. Mooramn.

You can go to your local health department for a free HIV test, or you can even buy an at-home test. Doctors say both are very reliable.

If you'd like more facts on HIV, click here.

If you'd like to know where you can get free testing, click here.

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