Monday, June 27, 2011

Get Tested and Know Your Status on National HIV Testing Day

GMHC's HIV Testing Van

As we enter the fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic, the June 27th National HIV Testing Day is a greatly needed opportunity to promote HIV testing and awareness.

At present, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S., a statistic that continues to increase annually. In part the increase can be attributed to people living longer thanks to improved antiretroviral therapies, but over 56,000 new people become infected every year.

Recently, the CDC estimated that 80% of people living with HIV do not know that they are infected.  Studies also show that those who do not know their status are more likely to transmit the infection.  This underscores the necessity for routine HIV testing in order to encourage early diagnosis and reduce HIV-related risk.

"GMHC remains committed to ending the epidemic," said Marjorie Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC.  "That is why I am pleased to announce that GMHC is opening its first satellite, the GMHC Center for HIV Prevention."

The GMHC David Geffen Center for HIV Prevention & Health Education is re-opening at our new site, at 224 West 29th Street, on Tuesday June 28th.  GMHC firmly believes that HIV testing is critical, not only to know one's HIV status, but to also promote access to HIV prevention and treatment services.  Part of GMHC's commitment on National HIV Testing Day is to challenge HIV-related stigma.

Homophobia, racism, classism, sexism, and HIV stigma are structural factors that hinder access to HIV testing and treatment services.  Routine testing is necessary for people to know their HIV status and to take control of their health and well-being.

"Increasing HIV-testing services will go a long way towards ending the AIDS epidemic and GMHC encourages people to get tested and know their status on National HIV Testing Day," added Hill.

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