Today is National HIV Testing Day — 24 hours set aside to encourage HIV testing and increase awareness of the effects...
As a sexually active gay man, Edric Figueroa gets tested for HIV every three months. As the Gay Outreach Program coordinator for AID Atlanta, he's working with others to get as many people tested as possible.
Last year, AID Atlanta tested nearly 7,000 people for HIV. This year for National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Figueroa and others will be out at various locations throughout Atlanta offering free HIV tests. Being visible is part of educating people about knowing their status, Figueroa said.
AID Atlanta will be at Underground Atlanta from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on National HIV Testing Day.
Many of Atlanta’s HIV/AIDS organizations will host free HIV screenings and offer other tests Wednesday, June 27, to mark National HIV Testing Day.
First held in 1995, National HIV Testing Day is organized by the National Association of People with AIDS with the goal of increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and test rates across the country. This is the campaign’s 19th year, and organizers hope that continued advocacy and awareness campaigns can increase testing on the local level by 10 percent across the board.
Frank Oldham, the president of the NAPWA, said National HIV Testing Day is important because it was the first AIDS awareness day.
Despite progress in testing and HIV/AIDS awareness, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that a quarter of a million people have HIV in the United States and don't even know it. Today marks National HIV Testing Day and the CDC, health advocates and even President Barack Obama are urging every American, regardless of risk factor, to get tested for the disease.
“National HIV Testing Day reminds each of us to do our part in fighting HIV/AIDS and get tested. It has been thirty years since we witnessed the emergence of HIV, an illness from which roughly 600,000 Americans have died and with which more than one million Americans live,” President Obama said in a statement released today.
“After years of critical investments in research, prevention and care, we now have the tools to stem the spread of the disease and extend the lives of those Americans living with HIV,” he added.