June 25, 2002
National HIV Testing Day, created by NAPWA in 1995, is a public awareness campaign promoting the importance of early HIV detection, voluntary counseling, treatment, and prevention services. Americans at high risk are urged to get tested and get the results so they can know their status, practice preventive behaviors, and seek appropriate services.
"We have made tremendous strides in HIV prevention and treatment, yet it's of no use to people who don't know their status," said NAPWA Executive Director Terje Anderson. "Early detection and treatment can help people live longer, healthier lives. As an individual, getting tested is the first step toward taking control of your life. As a member of the global community, it's a first step toward slowing the spread of the disease."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 300,000 Americans are estimated to have HIV and do not know it.
"The fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic has many fronts - preventing its spread, providing care for those who need it, and searching for a cure," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson. "If you're at risk, getting tested is one of the first steps you can take to help halt the global epidemic."
Although the number of estimated new HIV infections in the United States has remained steady in recent years, HIV continues to disproportionately affect segments of the minority community. CDC reports that, while African Americans and Latinos make up slightly more than 25 percent of the U.S. population, these groups accounted for almost three-quarters of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections in 2001.
Consider the facts:
"National HIV Testing Day serves as an important reminder to individuals, particularly those at increased risk for infection, of the significance of getting tested and knowing their status," said Dr. Harold Jaffe, Acting Director of CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. "However, HIV/AIDS awareness is an ongoing process, and community leaders, as well as individuals, must remain engaged in promoting HIV prevention efforts."
For more information about National HIV Testing Day, call Elizabeth Northrup or Stephanie Hendricks at (202) 955-6200, or visit www.nhtd.org -- the official Web site for National HIV Testing Day. To find an HIV testing location near you, call 1 (800) 342-AIDS (English) or 1 (800) 344-7432 (Spanish), or log on to www.hivtest.org. For information on HIV/AIDS, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (404) 639-8895.
NAPWA is one of the nation's largest and most influential AIDS advocacy groups. The organization impacts public health policies and provides sustained prevention, education, and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Northrup or Stephanie Hendricks at (202) 955-6200.