Take Pride this National HIV Testing Day

by HRC Staff

HIV heavily impacts members of the LGBTQ community, especially Black & Latinx gay and bisexual men and transgender women.

HIV disproportionately impacts members of the LGBTQ community, especially Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and transgender women. In 2017, gay and bisexual men accounted for approximately 66% of new HIV diagnoses. According to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if current rates persist, about one in two Black men who have sex with men and one in four Latino men who have sex with men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime. A 2019 study showed that today 44% of Black transgender women are living with HIV and 26% of Latina transgender women are living with HIV.

This LGBTQ Pride Month, HRC is highlighting the extraordinary work of community-based organizations and local health departments working to end the HIV epidemic. We are proud to call these incredible advocates members of the HRC family.

HIV Testing Day 2019, Tony Walker

Tony Christian-Walker

Tony Christian-Walker is the Director of Prevention and Community Partnerships at AIDS Alabama. AIDS Alabama has two testing sites in Birmingham, Alabama. People can also schedule appointments at www.gcbham.com, along with an in-home testing option.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

It's essential to get tested because testing is the only way to know whether or not one has HIV. Testing should be part of our regular preventive medical routine. For too many people, HIV testing is an event, and it shouldn't be. HIV is a manageable disease, much like diabetes, but with fewer restrictions.

HIV Testing Day 2019, Terrance Payton

Terrance Peyton

Terrance Peyton is the Co-Founder/ Board Member of ManDate (Project Healthy Living), which works to improve the sexual health outcomes and influence healthy life choices for Black gay and bisexual men and their social and sexual networks. Consider Us Helping US in the Washington, D.C,. metropolitan area to be tested for HIV and other STIs.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

A world where there are no new infections of HIV can truly be ours to experience. It is important to test for HIV because knowing your status places you in the driver’s seat of your whole-life health. Grab the power by getting the test.

HIV Testing Day 2019, Holly Goldmann

Holly Goldmann

Holly Goldmann is the Director of External Affairs at Casa Ruby, which provides social services and programs catering to the most vulnerable in the city and surrounding areas.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

It’s important to get tested, especially at community events that provide it, because you can encourage your peers to get tested, too. We test at Casa Ruby every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m.!

HIV Testing Day 2019, Kenya Hutton

Kenya Hutton

Kenya Hutton is the Program Manager at the The Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services. UCHAPS has developed an easy-to-use website where individuals can find testing locations and testing events happening across the country, through the UCHAPS National HIV Testing week initiative.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

In order for us to see an end to this epidemic, it’s important that we all know our status, and it’s just as important for service providers to provide access to free, painless HIV testing. Knowing your status, you can work with your health care provider to find out how you can reach and maintain an undetectable status.

HIV Testing Day 2019, Derick Wilson

Derick Wilson

Derick Wilson is the Director of Sexual Health Promotion at the Fulton (Georgia) County Board of Health. There are a number of places throughout Fulton County to get a free HIV test. Go here for details.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

It’s important for someone to be tested for HIV, along with regular screening and testing for other sexual health issues, so that they can live healthy -- regardless of the outcome. Good health begins with knowing the facts about your health.

HIV Testing Day 2019, Nhakaia Outland

Nhakia Outland, MSW

Nhakia Outland is the Navigation Program Manager at the Mazzoni Center in Pennsylvania. If you are looking to get tested for HIV or screened for an STI, Mazzoni Center offers free, confidential and rapid services.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV. As a cis- gender black queer woman, I feel that getting tested for HIV is very important. Black women are not always included in the conversation around the importance of getting HIV tested, yet black women are bearing the burden of the HIV epidemic.

Getting tested for HIV also gives you control over your life and sexual health. It is often assumed that cis-gender black women are not at risk and therefore HIV testing may or may not be offered despite asking.  So many remain silent and asks go unheard because of stigma or perceptions. This has to change. All people need to be included in the discussion around HIV testing, prevention and treatment. Whether your result is negative or positive, it's always better to know your status.

HIV Testing Day 2019, Lakarla Williams

Lakarla Williams

Lakarla Williams is the HIV Counselor / P.a.s.i Specialist at Brotherhood, INC, which offers HIV testing at its office in New Orleans.

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

To know your status. It’s important for everyone to know there status, because if found positive, you can get medical treatment immediately. Knowing is half the battle!

HIV Testing Day 2019, Darnell Barrington

Darnell Barrington

Darnell Barrington is the HIV Prevention Program Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Health

Why is it important to be tested for HIV?

Being tested for HIV is so important because it represents POWER. When you are tested you possess the power of knowing your status and making the decision that HIV stops with you. In Virginia, we have an amazing partnership with Walgreens Pharmacy that allows for additional community level access to HIV testing.