June 24, 2011
Washington, DC -- On June 27th, 2011, The AIDS Institute recognizes the 17th annual National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). NHTD is hosted through a partnership between the National Association of People with AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other national and local organizations. "Take the Test, Take Control" is the key message promoted across the country to individuals of all ages to get tested and know their HIV status.
As we acknowledge and observe NHTD, we must recognize that we have entered the 30th year of HIV/AIDS. Although there have been major advancements in care and treatment for individuals living with HIV; many people are still becoming infected and individuals are still unaware of their HIV status. HIV testing has become a necessary prevention tool for individuals to get tested and know their status.
Today, CDC estimates approximately 21 percent of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status. This creates the urgency for individuals to get tested.
"It is clear that increased routine HIV testing is a major step towards preventing new HIV infections," commented Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. "Also, breakthroughs in technology have improved HIV testing through user access, result lag time, and ease of use."
On July 13, 2010, the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). This document was the nation's first-ever comprehensive coordinated HIV/AIDS plan that includes clear and measurable goals and objectives to be achieved by 2015. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy has three primary goals: 1) reduce HIV incidence, 2) increase access to care and improve health outcomes for persons living with HIV, and 3) reduce HIV-related health disparities. In order to achieve these goals, the Strategy seeks to increase from 79 to 90 percent the number of people living with HIV who know their serostatus by 2015.
"In an effort to meet the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal of reducing HIV incidence, individuals and organizations must work together to embark on a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic," stated Ruppal. "National HIV Testing Day spotlights a very important issue that continues to affect communities of color as well as underserved and vulnerable communities, and methods such as HIV testing attempt to meet this particular goal as outlined in the strategy," added Ruppal.
The AIDS Institute encourages individuals to demonstrate how quick and easy it is to get tested by using one of the rapid HIV tests on June 27th. We also encourage people to educate their friends and family members to get tested throughout the year.
For more information on NHTD, please visit the following: