|Know your status on National HIV Testing Day|
|Written by Ryan Watkins|
|Monday, 27 June 2011 13:36|
Despite progress in testing and HIV/AIDS awareness, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that a quarter of a million people have HIV in the United States and don't even know it. Today marks National HIV Testing Day and the CDC, health advocates and even President Barack Obama are urging every American, regardless of risk factor, to get tested for the disease.
“National HIV Testing Day reminds each of us to do our part in fighting HIV/AIDS and get tested. It has been thirty years since we witnessed the emergence of HIV, an illness from which roughly 600,000 Americans have died and with which more than one million Americans live,” President Obama said in a statement released today.
“After years of critical investments in research, prevention and care, we now have the tools to stem the spread of the disease and extend the lives of those Americans living with HIV,” he added.
According to the CDC, some 56,000 new HIV infections are reported in the U.S. each year, while an estimated 17,000 people die each year from AIDS.
Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the CDC, echoed the president's words, calling for more testing:
“Whether you test positive or negative, simply knowing your HIV status is empowering,” Fenton said today via a media release. “Testing negative can give you peace of mind and encourage you to take steps to keep yourself HIV-free. And while certainly a difficult diagnosis to receive, learning that you have HIV can lead you to seek treatment that can save your life, and access to the knowledge you need to protect the lives of others.”
Earlier this year, the CDC suggested that those at a higher risk of contracting HIV should be tested more than once a year.
For a list of HIV/AIDS health organizations (including free, confidential testing) and counseling services, click here.
Top photo: President Barack Obama urges Americans to get tested for HIV on National HIV Testing Day (official photo)
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