National HIV Testing Day is today, June 27, 2013. Beginning in 1995, this year marks the 17th year of observance of HIV Testing Day. It was introduced as part of the initiative begun by AIDS.gov, which marks several dates (including World AIDS Day on December 1) to encourage more awareness regarding the spread of HIV and other STDs. National HIV Testing Day is a partnership between the CDC and the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA).
With the motto “Take the Test, Take Control,” the day is intended to increase awareness of the spread of HIV, as well as to empower more people, encouraging as many as possible to be tested both for the sake of their own health and to prevent the spread of disease to others. In 2009, the White House shared a blog post on its official website with a video of President (then Senator) Obama in Kenya from 2006 taking the test with his wife, Michelle, as part of an intended message to spread awareness. In 2010, AIDS.gov teamed up with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other departments within the federal government to develop a provider locator. This allows people to go online and input location information (zip code, or city and state) in order to find the nearest testing site available.
It is currently estimated that 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV, and almost all of those individuals will, at some point, get AIDS. HIV, of course, can be treated, but not cured, and it has to be caught in time for the treatment to be effective. At least 1 in 3 who test positive are tested too late to get the benefit of treatment. 65% of adults aged 18-64 have never been tested, and 1 in 5 people living with HIV are not aware of it.
Some of the most hard-hit states for HIV and AIDS include California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida. In 2011, an estimated 32,052 people were diagnosed with AIDS; 24,088 were among adult and adolescent males; 7,949 were among adult and adolescent females; and 15 were children under the age of 13. In 2010, there were 15,529 deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis. Worldwide, the problem remains persistent, particularly in developing and third-world countries. In 2011, there were 2.5 million new cases. About 34.2 million people currently live with HIV, and almost 30 million have died from the disease since the epidemic began.
Do your part today: Take the Test, Take Control!