From Our 2013 Archives
Get Tested on National HIV Testing Day, June 27
This year marks the 19th annual National HIV Testing Day, a time to promote one of our best tools for HIV prevention.
Too many people don't know they have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). More than 1 million people are living with HIV in the United States, but 1 in 5 don't know they are infected.
In April 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released HIV testing recommendations that everyone aged 15 to 65 should be screened for HIV infection; teens younger than age 15 and adults older than 65 also should be screened if they are at increased risk for HIV infection; and all pregnant women, including women in labor who do not know if they are infected with HIV, should be screened for HIV infection. CDC recommends an HIV test once a year for people at increased risk—such as gay and bisexual men, people who inject drugs, or people with multiple sex partners. CDC data suggests that sexually active gay and bisexual men might benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months) Regular testing allows people who have HIV to know their status, get life-saving treatment and care, and prevent HIV transmission to others.
Getting Tested Has Never Been Easier
It's easy to get tested. Ask your doctor for a test, or find a nearby testing site through National HIV and STD Testing Resources. Home test kits are also available. Two FDA-approved tests are available online or from drugstores: a rapid testing kit that provides results in 20 minutes using a swab of oral fluid from your gums, and a kit that involves collecting a finger stick blood sample and sending it to a licensed laboratory, then calling in later for results. In both cases, testing is anonymous, and the manufacturer provides confidential counseling and referral to care.
Knowing Your HIV Status Is Empowering
When you know your status, you can take care of yourself. If you find out that you are infected with HIV (if you test positive), you can seek medical care and get treatment, which helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and also lowers the chances of passing HIV to others.
If you don't have HIV (if you test negative), take steps to stay negative. Remember that if you have unprotected sex or share needles for drug use after your test, you need to get tested again to make sure you are still HIV-negative. Your HIV test result “expires” every time you have risky sex or share needles or related works.
Knowing your HIV status is empowering. When you know your status, you can take care of yourself.
CDC Is Committed to Increasing HIV Testing
CDC continues to work with federal, state, and local partners to expand routine HIV testing—not just on National HIV Testing Day but all year long. In 2010, CDC implemented new phases of its successful Expanded Testing Initiative, funding 30 health departments to focus on increasing HIV testing among African Americans and Latinos as well as gay and bisexual men and injection drug users of all races and ethnicities. The men who have sex with men (MSM) Testing Initiative will identify MSM with HIV who were previously unaware of their infection and link them to HIV medical care.
CDC's Act Against AIDS (AAA) campaigns work to further expand HIV testing, raise awareness about HIV and AIDS among all Americans, and reduce the risk of infection among the hardest-hit populations.
What Can We Do on This National HIV Testing Day and Throughout the Year?
Health Care Providers Can
State and Local Health Departments Can
SOURCE: CDC, June 27, 2013
Resources for Staying Well
- HIV-AIDS: Myths and Facts
- Understanding The Symptoms of AIDS/HIV
- The Top 10 Myths and Misconceptions About HIV and AIDS
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