National HIV Testing Day June 2010
June 27, 2010, is National HIV Testing Day, an annual campaign each year to help facilitate and mobilize resources that encourage people to be tested for HIV. The CDC estimates that 1 in 5 individuals living with HIV are unaware of their diagnosis. HIV counseling and testing is encouraged for all, as it is an opportunity to raise awareness and decrease stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. Current revised CDC recommendations support routine HIV testing for adults and adolescents age 13-64 regardless of risk.
The IHS National HIV Program supports these revised recommendations and has a priority to make HIV testing more readily available within IHS, tribes, tribal entities, and to all American Indians and Alaska Native peoples. One of the main IHS HIV Program goals is to have more American Indians/Alaska Natives have knowledge of their personal HIV status. Thus, many initiatives in IHS, Tribal and Urban facilities have been implemented to make testing more accessible and routine. This continues to raise awareness throughout the population and in a rising number of facilities that have expanded testing services. Progress can be seen, as the number of American Indians/Alaska Natives tested for HIV continues to rise each year, which is a measure of its acceptability and interest in the population.
While National HIV Testing Day is a helpful campaign to educate the public about the importance of testing, awareness should not be limited to this day. Be tested anytime. Offer HIV testing anytime. Raise awareness of HIV testing throughout the year. In the United States alone, someone is infected with HIV every nine and a half minutes. Preventive efforts need to be initiated and sustained. The first vital step is to know your HIV status. So, “Take the Test, Take Control”. Protect your health and the health of families, communities and future generations of American Indians/Alaska Natives.