Today is National HIV Testing Day, an annual campaign aimed to remind American to get tested and educate them on how, where and when to do so.
Developed in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS, the “Take the Test, Take Control” campaign came about at the number of Americans with HIV and AIDS infections began to grow.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages those ages 13-64 to get tested at lease once. The CDC also encourages high-risk individuals to be tested once a year. High-risk individuals they define as sexually active gay and bisexual men, intravenous drug users and people with multiple sex partners.
According to a blog post by Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC, “18 percent of Americans with HIV don’t know they are infected. That’s more than 200,000 people. ” He does note though that ”a record number of Americans living with HIV know their HIV status.”
President Obama released a statement to several publications earlier today stressing the importance of knowing your status:
“Knowing your HIV status is a vital step toward accessing life-extending treatment for HIV, and thanks to ongoing research, that treatment is more effective than ever.
In July 2010, my Administration released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which emphasizes the goals of reducing infections, improving health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. Two years into its implementation, the Strategy continues to focus Federal, State, and local efforts on improving the delivery of HIV/AIDS services, including expanding outreach, testing, linkage to care, and treatment.”
In response to National HIV Testing Day, several drugstores and pharmacies, including Walgreens, are offering free HIV testing.
So get tested, know your status, take control and let’s stop the spread.