National HIV Testing Day
Medically reviewed on Jun 26, 2017 by L. Anderson, PharmD.
A Call to Action: Get Tested, June 27th, 2017
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 "Test Your Way. Do It Today" is the 2017 national HIV testing and prevention campaign designed to motivate all adults to get tested for HIV and know their status.
About 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know it. 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 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.
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 had sex—anal or vaginal—with an HIV-positive partner, or if you've had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test. Also, if you've been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis (TB), or if you've had sex with someone whose sexual history you don’t know, you need to be tested, too. 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 should consider post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), taking certain antiretroviral medicines after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected. Women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant should also be tested for HIV.
Take these following actions as part of National HIV Testing Day:
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 name Truvada, is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. 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.
To Learn More Information About HIV/AIDs
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
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with the HIV virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), but one in eight of these people do not know that they are infected.
- In 2014, an estimated 44,073 people were newly diagnosed with HIV. An estimated 20,896 people were diagnosed with AIDS in 2014.
- In 2014, 22% of all new HIV diagnoses were among youth aged 13-24.
HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender or age. However, certain groups are at higher risk for HIV and merit special consideration because of particular risk factors. Gay and bisexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States.
- If you do not know your HIV status, 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. You can purchase a home HIV testing kit from your local pharmacy. You can find the location of local HIV testing sites by entering your zip code at this website, http://hivtest.org/, you can text your zip code to “KNOW IT” (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). All of these resources are free and confidential.
- 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 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 CDC. Getting treated also helps to lower the chance that HIV is passed on to others.
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- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National HIV Testing Day. Accessed 6/26/2017 at https://www.cdc.gov/features/hivtesting/index.html
- AIDS.gov. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Last revised: 01/29/2016. Accessed 6/26/2017 at https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/prevention/reduce-your-risk/pre-exposure-prophylaxis/
- Drugs.com HIV Update: New Treatments, Easier Options. Updated 4/26/2017 at https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/hiv-update-new-treatments-easier-options-1234
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Act Against AIDS. Updated 6/16/2017. Accessed 6/26/2016 at http://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/campaigns/doingit/index.html