As we celebrate National HIV Testing Day, it is important to note that nearly one in six Americans who have HIV do not know they are infected.
If you are between the ages of 13-64, or are pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get tested for HIV at least once as a part of routine healthcare, and more often if you are at high risk for infection.
The CDC estimates that over 1.1 million persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection, including 180,900 or 15.8 percent who are unaware of their infection.
In a statement by Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Assistance Secretary for Health at the Department of Health & Human Services, it is highlighted that screening is especially important if you are part of a population that is heavily affected by the disease.
These populations include African Americans, Latinos, homosexuals, bisexuals, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races – particularly young African American MSM (ages 13-24), who have higher rates of new HIV infection.
Fortunately, getting an HIV test has become easier than ever. You can visit the AIDS.gov’s HIV Testing Site & Care Service Locator or the website to find a location near you.
“You can benefit from testing no matter what the results are, because knowing your HIV status puts you in charge of your health,” Koh said in a press release.
What does this mean for life insurance?
While it was once virtually impossible to find insurance coverage for HIV and AIDS patients, new medical advancements and more life insurance options in conjunction with new state laws has made it possible for these individuals to secure a life insurance policy.
It is important to note that 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 created every day.
The following types of life insurance coverage are currently available for individuals living with HIV:
· Group Life Insurance
· Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
· High Risk Insurance
· Critical Illness Life Insurance
If you have purchased a life insurance policy before you were diagnosed with HIV, it is very important that you keep it in force and do not let it lapse. If you do let it lapse, it will be challenging if not impossible, to get similar coverage in the future.
If you have HIV, you can typically expect to pay 3 to 5 times more than what a healthy individual will pay for life insurance premiums as the disease is still be considered a serious health risk. You can in fact lower your premium rate by buying a policy with a lower death benefit.
Consulting with an insurance agent is your best bet if you are living with HIV and currently seeking life insurance. They can assist you throughout the process.