June 27, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This month we commemorated 30 years since the first reported case of HIV/AIDS in the United States. As we look back we can celebrate the gains we have made and look ahead with hope and purpose to the next steps we must take in our fight against HIV/AIDS.
There is still much more to be done and this commemoration brings extra meaning to this year’s 17th annual National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) on June 27.
In the last three decades, we have made huge strides in our ability to test for and treat HIV and AIDS. As in years past, the theme of this year’s NHTD is “Take the Test. Take Control” Today, this is truer than ever. HIV testing is accurate, widely available, and often free, or low-cost. With an early diagnosis and proper treatment people living with HIV can enjoy long, healthy lives.
While more people are being tested for HIV than ever before, still more than half of American adults have never taken an HIV test. Even more problematic is that one in five Americans who are infected with HIV, don’t know it. But we know that testing works.
A recent initiative to test for HIV more rigorously in emergency rooms and health centers in areas of need identified nearly 30,000 people with HIV. Of that group, more than 18,000 people did not know they had the infection. Health care providers are increasingly recognizing the importance of routine HIV testing for adults and adolescents, not just persons who have an identifiable “risk factor.”
We need to spread the word that knowing your HIV status helps you take control of your health, protect your loved ones, and get connected to treatment, if needed.
To support NHTD, our department, along with the National Association of People With AIDS, and many other organizations and individuals across the country are offering HIV testing and educational events. And we continue to implement our National HIV/AIDS Strategy, a roadmap for making the U.S. a place where new HIV infections are rare and those who are HIV-positive get the treatment and care they need.
National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves as well as our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to get tested for HIV. To locate an HIV testing site near you, text your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948), visit www.HIVtest.org, or call 800-CDC-INFO .
To find local HIV resources, including testing, housing, and substance abuse, family planning, and mental health services, visit the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Services Provider Locator tool.
To learn more about HIV, please visit www.AIDS.gov.