Today is National HIV Testing Day
poolparty | June 27, 2008 at 09:27 amby
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Today is National HIV Testing Day. Across the US there will be thousands of testing sites and counseling provided by local health departments. In the Bronx, the city authorities are offering free HIV tests to every adult in the area.
According to 2006 data, 3,745 New Yorkers were newly listed as HIV-positive – one quarter of them from the Bronx. AIDS killed 357 residents of the borough in 2006, about a third of all AIDS deaths in the city.
The New York City Health Department’s initiative is considered the largest HIV testing initiative in the city’s history. People here have forty locations including hospitals, clinics, health centers, and places of worship, standing at their disposition with HIV tests.
It is an annual campaign by the National Association of People with AIDS. NAPWA was founded in 1983 and is the oldest AIDS organization.
Each year, an estimated 40,000 Americans are newly infected with HIV - in part because 25 percent of the more than one million Americans who are believed to be living with HIV don't even know they are infected.
HIV testing is a key component in controlling the spread of HIV infection. For those who test positive for HIV, awareness can help them take steps to protect their own health and that of their partners - thus avoiding further transmission.
For those testing negative, the testing process is an opportunity to get informed and take action to avoid risks and stay uninfected.
National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 180,000 to 280,000 people nationwide are HIV-positive but are unaware of their status. HIV counseling and testing enables people with HIV to take steps to protect their own health and that of their partners, and helps people who test negative get the information they need to stay uninfected.
Across the country, thousands of HIV counseling and testing sites, state and local health departments, and community-based HIV/AIDS service providers will participate in NHTD events, by holding health fairs, providing community and media outreach, hosting special testing-related events or operating extended hours. Some of these events may be scheduled in the days and weeks surrounding NHTD. Campaign materials including posters, for use by these groups have been developed by NAPWA and are available for order or to download.
NHTD organizers will also reach out to communities at increased risk of HIV infection, including African American and Latino populations, both of which are disproportionately affected with HIV when compared to other demographic groups in the United States. The campaign also highlights this Web site, which allows users to locate HIV testing sites in their area.
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