Today, Sept. 27, is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and the Center's for Disease Control & Prevention is urging gay and bisexual men to get tested for HIV. In the U.S., men who have sex with men continue to be the demographic that has the most new infections each year.
According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men represent 2 percent of the U.S. population,"yet account for more than half of both new HIV infections each year and Americans living with HIV. Since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 350,000 gay and bisexual men with AIDS have died, and more than 8,000 still die each year."
AID Atlanta staffers had some fun making a video to the summer hit "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepson while tackling a serious subject — HIV and being tested for HIV. The video also promotes the Georgia HIV/STD hotline at 1-800-551-2728.
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.
AID Atlanta, one of the city's largest providers of HIV testing and treatment, will offer free HIV tests in locations throughout Atlanta to mark National HIV Testing Day on Sunday, June 24, and Wednesday, June 27.
The first stop will be June 24 at Piedmont Park (12th Street entrance) from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. On the 27th, AID Atlanta will camp outside Underground Atlanta from 11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Free tests will also be available during the day at AID Atlanta's offices (1605 Peachtree St. NE) and at the Latin American Association headquarters (2750 Buford Hwy NE).
Georgia was among the top states to report new HIV infections in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Some 1,300 people are diagnosed each year in the Peach State, CDC numbers show.