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National HIV Testing Day

Take the Test, Take Control - June 27th

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is the national observance day in the U.S. to promote Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing. NHTD is an annual campaign to encourage people of all ages to "Take the Test, Take Control."

  • About 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with the HIV virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), but one in six of these people do not know that they are infected.
  • Over 50,000 people in the U.S. become newly infected with HIV each year.
  • About 1 in 4 new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24.
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the group most heavily affected by HIV in the United States, although heterosexuals accounted for 25 percent of estimated new HIV infections in 2010 (12,100).
  • These statistics emphasize the need that each person who has unprotected sex with someone whose HIV status they do not know may be at risk for contracting HIV. Additionally, anyone who does not know their HIV status and has unprotected sex with someone else is at risk for spreading the virus unknowingly.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 years of age be HIV-tested at least once as part of their regular health screening. Pregnant women should also undergo early HIV testing as part of their routine prenatal check-up at each pregnancy to help prevent passing HIV to their babies. One in six people in the United States who have HIV do not know they are infected.

    The CDC also suggests yearly testing for those at higher risk for HIV, such as intravenous drugs users, people who exchange sex for money or drugs, gay and bisexual men, those who have vaginal or anal sex without a condom or without being on medicines that prevent or treat HIV, or people with multiple sex partners. Gay and bisexual men who are sexually active with multiple partners may benefit from more frequent testing, perhaps every three to six months. People who have been sexually assaulted, or women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should also be tested.

    The CDC recommends the following actions as part of National HIV Testing Day:

    • Consult with a healthcare provider to find an HIV testing center, or find a place to be tested in the community. You can find the location of local HIV testing sites by entering your zip code at this website, http://hivtest.org/, or you can text your zip code to “KNOW IT” (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) or 1-888-232-6348 (TTY) Monday through Friday 8 AM to 8 PM ET. All of these resources are free and confidential.
    • If you do not know your HIV status, get tested. If you have more than one sexual partner, inject drugs or are a gay or bisexual man, getting tested more frequently may be beneficial.
    • You can lower your HIV risk by having sex with one partner only whose HIV status is uninfected. If you know your partner is positive for HIV or are not sure of your partner's status, use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal or oral sex. Talk to your healthcare provider about new options like medicines that prevent and treat HIV, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and antiretroviral therapy. The AIDS.gov website has more information about PrEP here.
    • See a healthcare provider as soon as possible if you know your HIV status is positive. Most people who are infected with HIV will progress to AIDS if not treated. Early detection and treatment for HIV can drastically affect how healthy an HIV patient can remain, so early testing is endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Getting treated also helps to lower the chance that HIV is passed on to others.

    Using antiretroviral drugs to help prevent infection is called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. The PrEP approach to HIV prevention can protect people at high risk of being infected with HIV. PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV infection in IV drug abusers, in transmission of HIV from mother to child, in gay and bisexual men and in heterosexuals. If you are uninfected, but are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection, talk to your health care provider about PrEP options.

    AIDS is a global epidemic. The CDC first recognized AIDS in 1981, but diagnostic testing and treatment has improved drastically over the last three decades. The extent and quality of life in patients with HIV/AIDS can be drastically improved. However, high-risk behavior is still prevalent in some communities and continued testing, diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment remains a national health objective.

    To Learn More Information About HIV/AIDs

    Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC: Strategic Plan - Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention 2011-2015

    To Learn More About National HIV Testing Day

    Visit the Aids.gov News and Events Website

    To Learn More Information About HIV Testing

    Visit the HIV/AIDS Center

    See Also:

Last updated: 2014-06-25 by Leigh Anderson, PharmD

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