On National HIV Testing Day at events across the United States, thousands of Americans will obtain a potentially life-extending piece of information: their HIV test result.
Whether they test positive or negative, all of them will be taking an important step in protecting their health and the health of their loved ones and advance our nation?s fight against the spread of HIV.
Of the more than 1 million Americans now estimated to be living with HIV, one-quarter do not realize they are infected. As a result, they do not receive medical care that could help them live longer, fuller lives. And without knowing it, they may also be transmitting HIV to others. CDC estimates that the majority of sexually transmitted HIV infections are transmitted by people who are unaware of their infection.
A combination of HIV testing approaches is needed to make sure all Americans learn whether they are infected with HIV. Everyone should have the opportunity to get tested when they visit a doctor, an emergency room, or some other health care provider. CDC recommends routine HIV screening for all patients aged 13 to 64 in health care settings. At the same time, we need innovative programs that take HIV testing and counseling services straight to people at risk, in their own communities. From testing events at local places of worship to outreach with mobile vans and testing at community events, efforts are underway across the United States.
National HIV Testing Day events offer an excellent opportunity to get tested for HIV. But an HIV test can be taken on any day and we should all resolve to take the test and take control of our health. To find an HIV testing site in your area visit www.hivtest.org or call 800-CDC-INFO.