As we observe National HIV Testing Day, it is important to remember that nearly one in every six Americans infected with HIV are unaware of their status.
If you are 13-64 years old or pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting tested for HIV at least once as part of routine healthcare, and more frequently if you are at high risk of infection.
The CDC estimates that over 1.1 million people aged 13 and up are infected with HIV, with 180,900 (or 15.8 percent) unaware of their status.
Screening is especially important if you are part of a population that is heavily affected by the disease, according to Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health & Human Services.
African Americans, Latinos, homosexuals, bisexuals, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races are among these populations, particularly young African American MSM (ages 13-24), who have higher rates of new HIV infection.
Thankfully, getting an HIV test is now easier than ever. To find a location near you, go to AIDS.gov’s HIV Testing Site & Care Service Locator or the NHTD website.
“No matter what the results are, you can benefit from testing because knowing your HIV status puts you in control of your health,” Koh said in a press release.
What does this mean in terms of life insurance?
While it was once nearly impossible to find insurance coverage for HIV and AIDS patients, new medical advances and more life insurance options, combined with new state laws, have made it possible for these people to obtain a policy.
Traditional forms of life insurance, such as term life and permanent life, may not be readily available for HIV patients, but new policies are being developed on a daily basis.
Individuals living with HIV can currently obtain the following types of life insurance coverage:
- Life Insurance for Groups
- Life Insurance with a Guaranteed Issue
- Insurance for High Risk
- Life Insurance for Critical Illness
If you purchased a life insurance policy before being diagnosed with HIV, it is critical that you keep it active and do not let it lapse. If you let it lapse, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain comparable coverage in the future.
If you have HIV, you can expect to pay 3 to 5 times the amount that a healthy person would pay for life insurance premiums because the disease is still considered a serious health risk. You can reduce your premiums by purchasing a policy with a lower death benefit.
If you have HIV and are looking for life insurance, you should speak with an insurance agent. They can help you every step of the way.