Take the Test, Take Control
June 27, 2010
Today, a million Americans have HIV/AIDS with one in five (230,000) unaware they are infected. Sixteen years ago today, June 27th, the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, LGBT groups, and public health professionals banded together to launch a nationwide effort to encourage individuals to learn their HIV status. Testing is a powerful prevention tool. The majority of new sexually transmitted cases are the result of individuals not knowing they are infected. Research shows that knowing one’s HIV status makes an individual more likely to take precautions to protect others. Prevention tools like this cost money and the Obama Administration through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will invest at least $142.5 million into an HIV testing initiative targeted to populations heavily affected by HIV: African-Americans, Latinos, gay and bisexual men of all races, and injection-drug users. To date, more than 1.4 million additional people have been tested as part of the initiative, 10,000 have been newly diagnosed with HIV, and the majority of those diagnosed have been linked to care. Communities of color continue to be at greatest risk of new infections. To help encourage prevention efforts among these groups, President Obama did this public service announcement last year.
We hope the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, expected to be announced this summer, will incorporate further testing initiatives as well as awareness campaigns, like ‘Act Against AIDS.’ That campaign has been helpful in re-educating the general public about preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. At HRC we know the power to fight HIV is in the hands of every American. On June 27th, National HIV Testing Day, take control of your health. Find a testing site near you by visiting www.hivtest.org, texting your ZIP code to KnowIt (566948), or calling 800-CDC INFO. Talk to your doctor about HIV, and ask for a test. Encourage your loved ones to do the same. HIV is far too important for you to make assumptions about your status.