National HIV Testing Day
Medically reviewed by L. Anderson, PharmD Last updated on May 27, 2019.
A Call to Action: Get Tested, June 27th, 2019
National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) -- June 27th each year -- is the national observance day in the U.S. to promote Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) testing. NHTD and the theme Doing It My Way, Testing for HIV is the national HIV testing and prevention campaign designed to promote testing for HIV to learn one's HIV status.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with the HIV virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), but 1 in 7 of these people do not know that they are infected.
- The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of a routine health care check-up. People at higher risk should get tested more frequently.
- In 2017, an estimated 38,739 people were newly diagnosed with HIV. The number of new diagnoses have remained stable from 2012 to 2016.
- HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender or age. However, certain groups are at higher risk for HIV. Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV in the United States.
- Heterosexuals continue to be affected by HIV. In 2017, heterosexuals accounted for 24% of HIV diagnoses, although diagnoses decreased 8% among heterosexuals
These statistics emphasize that each person who has unprotected sex with someone whose HIV status they do not know may be at risk for contracting the virus. Additionally, anyone who does not know their HIV status and has unprotected sex with someone else is at risk for spreading the virus to others unknowingly. Getting tested and practicing safe sex can help to reduce this dangerous cycle.
Who Should Be Tested for HIV?
The 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 or those planning a pregnancy 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.
People at higher risk for HIV should be tested at least once a year, or more often. The CDC estimates that more than 90% of all new infections could be prevented by proper testing and linking HIV positive persons to care. They suggest at least yearly testing for those at higher risk for HIV, such as:
- Sexually active gay and bisexual men (testing every 3 to 6 months may benefit some).
- Those who have had sex—anal or vaginal—with an HIV-positive partner.
- If you've had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test.
- Intravenous drugs users.
- People who exchange sex for money or drugs.
- You've shared needles or supplies for injecting drugs.
- You have another sexually transmitted disease, hepatitis, or tuberculosis (TB).
- You've had sex with anyone who who has done any of the above actions or have had sex with someone whose HIV status you do not know.
Gay and bisexual men who are sexually active with multiple partners may benefit from more frequent testing, perhaps every 3 to 6 months. People who have been sexually assaulted should consider post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). With PEP, you take certain antiretroviral medicines to help prevent an HIV infection if you've possibly been exposed to HIV.
Where Can I Get an HIV Test?
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested:
- Consult with a healthcare provider to find an HIV testing center, find a place to be tested in the community, or take a home HIV test. Community resources include medical clinics, local health departments, substance abuse programs, community health centers, and hospitals. Call and ask if they offer testing.
- You can purchase a home HIV testing kit from your local pharmacy or online, but be sure you are buying from reputable online site. If unsure, it's better to buy from a pharmacy.
You can find the location of local HIV testing sites by:
- entering your zip code at these websites: gettested.cdc.gov or locator.hiv.gov
- you can text your zip code to “KNOW IT” (566948)
- you can call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). All of these resources are free and confidential.
How Can I Lower My Risk of Getting HIV?
You can lower your HIV risk by having sex with one partner only whose HIV status you know is negative (unifected).
- If you know your partner is HIV-positive OR you 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 options like medicines that prevent and treat HIV, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis PrEP, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and antiretroviral therapy.
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 increase one's future health, so early testing is endorsed by the CDC. Getting treated also helps to lower the chance that HIV is passed on to others.
What is Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?
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. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the brand name Truvada, is approved for daily use as PrEP. This regimen will help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV infection from an HIV partner or drug user who’s positive.
PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV infection in intravenous (IV) drug abusers, in transmission of HIV from mother to child, and in sexually active 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.
To Learn More Information About HIV/AIDs Testing
- Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
To Learn More About National HIV Testing Day
- Visit National HIV Testing Day #HIVTestingDay
To Learn More Information About HIV/AIDS
- Visit the Drugs.com HIV/AIDS Center
- 9 Facts About Current HIV Treatment
- AIDS and HIV Overview
- HIV and AIDS Opportunistic Infections and Symptoms
- HIV and AIDS Treatment: Drugs and Classes
- HIV and AIDS: Opportunistic Infections, Complications and Treatments
- HIV Prevention
- National HIV Testing Day. National Institute of Heath. Accessed May 27, 2019 at https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/hiv-aids-awareness-days/163/national-hiv-testing-day
- HIV.gov. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. HIV Basics. Accessed May 27, 2019 at https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics
- HIV.gov. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Who Should Get Tested? https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-testing/learn-about-hiv-testing/who-should-get-tested
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National HIV Testing Day. Accessed May 27, 2019 at https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/hiv-testing-day
- HIV Update: New Treatments, Easier Options. Drugs.com. Updated Nov. 29, 2018.. Accessed May 27, 2019 at https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/hiv-aids-new-treatments-1234
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). HIV/AIDS. Updated April 19, 2019. Accessed May 27, 2019 at https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.