Opinion & Commentary
HIV Testing the Most Effective Prevention Tool Available
June 27, 2007
" ... This National HIV Testing Day, we call on our community to renew our fight against HIV, increase awareness of the importance of testing, and do what it takes to prevent new infections. HIV testing has taken on an even greater emphasis with the new [CDC] national effort to implement routine HIV testing for all people between 13 and 64 years old." ... Knowing your HIV status is important for your health and our community ... When people do know their HIV status, they are much more likely to take steps, such as consistent condom use, to protect their partners and prevent the spread of infection. Knowing your HIV status can also be life saving. People who know they are infected can monitor the health of their immune system and consider beginning treatment at the earliest appropriate time to suppress HIV and the damage it gradually causes to the immune system.
"In addition to encouraging people to get tested, public health officials are working to make HIV testing a routine part of the health care provider visit. Everyone would be given the opportunity to decline the test; most will appreciate the opportunity for this additional screening. More frequent testing would continue to be recommended for people at higher risk, such as those having sex with new partners.
"Earlier this month, we gained an important supporter for routine testing, as the Board of Directors of the King County Medical Society endorsed this strategy for our region ...
"Until there's an HIV vaccine, HIV testing is the most effective prevention tool we have. With routine testing, we have a new opportunity to identify, treat, and prevent many more cases of HIV. With everyone's commitment to this goal, we can prevent new HIV in our community and establish a legacy of health."
Rasmussen and Counts are members of the King County Board of Health; Rasmussen is also a member of the Seattle City Council.
6.26.2007; Tom Rasmussen; Dr. George Counts
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.