I think all of us can admit that we’ve seen an influx of advice, memes, and even entire businesses created in the last 5 years solely dedicated to promoting self-care and wellness. We’ve become accustomed to creating mantras, reciting affirmations, doing yoga, steeping our matcha tea, changing our diets, drinking more water, oiling our scalps, joining the hottest gym in town, incorporating steam facials, sharing the latest wise words of our favorite YouTube blogger, all to “become a better you.” We’ve incorporated so many of these activities into our daily routines, yet we forget that health and wellness doesn’t just include all of the trendy activities that require a cute outfit & a picture of the day on Instagram.

As lovely and refreshing as it is to see this and the next generation so dedicated to ensuring their well-being is “well”, but you can’t be “well” without your health. Ensuring you get tested for HIV should be a high priority on your list before boiling the water for your next mug of tea & perfecting your downward dog. Just sayin’.

As a kid of the 80’s and 90’s, I’ve spent my entire existence hearing about the virus and I must admit: the world has made great strides towards understanding HIV, how we test, & dispelling the myths that come along with the virus. People have dedicated their causes & platforms, given money, & donated time, talents, efforts & a host of causes towards research and ultimately finding a cure.

Just to give a little bit updated statistics, here are just a few facts about HIV & AIDS from the CDC:

  • About 1.11 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Of those people, 1 in 7 don’t know they are infected.
  • In 2015, an estimated 39,153 people were newly diagnosed with HIV and 18,303 people were diagnosed with AIDS. Overall, since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s 1,216,917 people have been diagnosed with AIDS.
  • In 2015, 22% of all new HIV diagnoses were among youth aged 13-24.

When you know the important information, you better prepare yourself to take action. Wellness is great, but it’s so important to know your own status! Why? The sooner you know, the sooner you can get care if you test positive. The stigma that HIV only affects a certain group of people based on sexual orientation is an old one. HIV affects regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, gender, or age. Testing is so easy & requires just a bit of your time. I’ve been tested using the “Rapid Test” where they swab the inside of your cheek. Within a few minutes, you have an answer!

Let me be clear, ladies: You are not too cute to get tested & know your status!

It may be scary, but not knowing your status can be scarier! Grab your girls and guys on National HIV Testing Day on Tuesday, June 27. Start off the summer taking control of your health! It’s FREE! Click here to find out more information on #DoingIt & to find the nearest testing center near you!

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