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Opinion

CDC Statement on National HIV Testing Day 2017

June 26, 2017

National HIV Testing Day logo

Tomorrow, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a day to join together to make sure everyone knows the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis and gets tested! This year's theme, Test Your Way. Do It Today., highlights that there are more ways than ever to get an HIV test and encourages everyone to get tested.

The estimated number of annual HIV infections in the United States did decline 18% between 2008 and 2014 (from 45,700 to 37,600). However, about 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and 1 in 7 do not know they are infected. More than 90% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people who do not know they are infected or are not receiving treatment. This underscores the importance of early diagnosis and linkage to care to reduce further the number of new HIV infections.

More than half of the young people aged 13 to 24 who are living with HIV do not know it. A recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) analyzes data from CDC-funded HIV tests provided to young people in 2015. The report shows that more HIV testing is needed among young gay and bisexual men. These men accounted for 83% of recent HIV diagnoses among youth in non-healthcare facilities but only 28% of HIV tests among youth in those settings. The report also identifies gaps in linking young people to care after they receive an HIV diagnosis. Making testing available in locations where youth might interact with the health care system, and ensuring services are welcoming for all youth, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, may help to increase testing among young people.

CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once as part of routine health care. Some people are more at risk of getting HIV than others and should be tested at least once a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months). CDC's HIV testing guidelines for clinical and nonclinical settings provide comprehensive information on who needs HIV testing and how often they need it. Other CDC initiatives to improve testing outcomes include:

  • Providing funds to state and local health departments to develop and implement comprehensive HIV prevention programs that include HIV testing, implementation of CDC's screening recommendations, and linkage to care for those diagnosed with HIV.
  • Funding community-based organizations to provide HIV testing and linkage to care for those at greatest risk.
  • Conducting research and evaluation regarding the most up-to-date laboratory diagnostic techniques for HIV and issuing recommendations for testing.
  • Ensuring access to testing resources, such as CDC's Get Tested website, and training opportunities for providers through CDC's HIV Screening. Standard Care. campaign.
  • Providing free materials to help promote NHTD, and the Doing It  consumer-focused campaign designed to motivate all adults to get tested for HIV and know their status.

On June 27th, HIV testing events will occur across the country in clinical and nonclinical settings. We hope you are planning to participate. Thank you for your part in making this day a success. We look forward to continuing our strong collaboration in our work to stop HIV.

Jonathan H. Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., is director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eugene McCray, M.D., is the director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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