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Medical screening tests are an important part of preventative care. Learn why.

Learn How to Stop HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day

December 1 is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, to learn about advances in the fight against it, and honor those who have been lost to the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Nearly one in five of those are not aware that they are infected. Approximately 50,000 people become newly infected each year.

Find out how HIV is spread, how to avoid it, and how to stay healthy if infected at AIDS.gov.

Many people are diagnosed too late to fully benefit from available life-extending treatment. If you know your status, you can start getting treated and help prevent the infection of others. Find an HIV test location online or by texting your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948).

Gay and bisexual men remain the group most severely and disproportionately affected by the epidemic. However, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those infected through heterosexual sex are women. Learn more about avoiding and treating HIV for women.

It’s Time to Get the Flu Vaccine

What if there was something that would help kids miss fewer days at school? Or if there were a way that parents wouldn’t miss work?

There is something: the flu vaccine. And now is the time to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the flu season.

Getting vaccinated is easy. The Federal Government has several resources to help you figure out if you are considered high risk and where you can get vaccinated.

High-Risk Groups

Everybody over six-months-old should get vaccinated for the flu. However, there are some groups of people who are at higher risk of getting sick and having serious complications from the flu. These are:

  • Senior Citizens: People who are 65-years-old or older have a weaker immune system and therefore more prone to getting sick. In addition, the flu might create more serious health problems, and even death. That’s why senior citizens should get vaccinated each year.
  • Young Children: Because their immune system is still developing, young children over the age of six months should be vaccinated against the flu. For those children who cannot get vaccinated, prevention is the best way to protect them.
  • People Who Are Sick: Flu.gov has a section about the risks of the flu for certain people with health problems, including diabetes, cancer, arthritis and asthma.

Your health care provider can answer your questions about who should get vaccinated and why.

Types of Vaccines

There are two types of vaccines:

  • Flu Shot. This is the most common type of flu vaccination. It’s given to healthy and sick people, as well as young and old. Senior citizens normally get a higher dose of the flu vaccine.
  • Nasal Spray. This type of vaccine is for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49, with the exception of pregnant women.

Get your vaccine early in the season because the flu vaccine becomes effective about two weeks after it’s administered, once the body generates antibodies to protect against the flu.

Where to Get Vaccinated

Finding out where to get vaccinated is simple. Visit flushot.healthmap.org and enter your zip code to find the closest pharmacy or vaccination center. You can also search by type of vaccine, so you can find the vaccine that’s right for you.

To learn more about protecting yourself against flu, visit Vaccines.gov and Flu.gov.

Avoid Getting the Flu This Year

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. It’s recommended for most individuals, ages six months and older.

Here are some other ways to avoid getting the flu and passing it to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Practice good health habits (get adequate sleep, exercise, eat healthy, and drink plenty of fluids).
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you have the flu, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever has returned to normal without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Learn more about the flu, including symptoms, types of vaccines, and high-risk indviduals, and get answers to common questions about the flu vaccine, including locations where you can get it.