Washington, D.C.: City Workers Urged to Take HIV Tests
June 29, 2012
On Wednesday, National HIV Testing Day, the District's departments of Health and Human Resources joined union officials in launching a campaign aimed at encouraging 35,000 city employees to learn their HIV status over the next three months.
Health Department Director Mohammad N. Akhter said the goals are to save lives and help fight HIV/AIDS stigma. "What you don't know is going to hurt you," he noted.
A newly released annual report found 14,465 Washingtonians were living with HIV/AIDS in 2010. The majority of HIV-positive residents are in the workforce and over 40, said Gregory Pappas, director of the District's HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration.
The report showed a decline in the overall number of new AIDS cases over four years and improvements in linking people diagnosed with HIV to care. "We're making a lot of progress with HIV testing. We're setting new records every year, but ... unless a large number of people get tested, we won't be able to get ahead of this epidemic," Pappas said.
Richard Campbell, who works for the District's Department of Employment Services, said he has been getting routine HIV tests during annual physicals for the last six years. "This is the type of disease where it doesn't matter if you feel safe because of your partner or what have you," said the 52-year-old. "It's important for protection not just for yourself, but for your loved ones, family members or friends that you do the right thing for yourself and go and get tested."
06.28.2012; Marissa Evans
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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