Saturday, June 27, 2009

HIV Testing Day

Dear readers,

Today is National HIV Testing Day. It is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage Americans of all ages to get a test and know your HIV status.

"Since the beginning of the HIV and AIDS epidemic well over half a million people have died of AIDS in America – the equivalent of the entire population of Las Vegas. There are currently more than one million people living with HIV and AIDS in America and around a fifth of these are unaware of their infection, posing a high risk of onward transmission.

America’s response to the AIDS epidemic has produced mixed results. HIV prevention efforts have not always been successful and every year approximately 56,000 Americans are infected with HIV. In March 2009 Washington DC reported an HIV prevalence of at least 3% among people over 12 years - similar to rates in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Stigma and discrimination towards HIV positive people still persist and thousands of uninsured Americans struggle to access good HIV care and antiretroviral therapy."-via Avert

Far too many Americans remain HIV+ and undiagnosed. Many of these men and women, because of ignorance, fear and lack of access to adequate health care and/or insurance, engage in unsafe sexual encounters that continue to spread the virus. Many of those infected don't receive their diagnoses or treatment until they are hospitalized with an opportunistic infection and suffering the effects of a seriously compromised immune system if not full blown AIDS. This makes their treatment more difficult, more expensive and generally harder to tolerate.

People in this country are still dying from AIDS and complications due to untreated HIV.

A rapid HIV test, with results in 20 minutes can be performed in a doctors office or any clinic. It is virtually painless (some tests require a simple finger prick, and there are tests that only require oral fluids). If you are HIV positive, starting treatment today will prolong or save your life. Current medical treatment is fairly uncomplicated. Side effects to treatment vary but are usually temporary and tolerable.

GO HERE to enter your ZIP code and find an HIV testing site near you. Don't be afraid, take control of your health and your life.

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