June 27, 2009 marks the 15th annual observance of National HIV Testing Day. HIV testing is a critical component of HIV/AIDS prevention. The purpose of National HIV Testing Day is to reach those who have never been tested or who have engaged in high-risk behavior since their last test. National HIV Testing Day focuses on encouraging people to know their HIV status, and also strives to end the fear and stigma associated with HIV testing.
Why is it important to get tested for HIV? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2007 HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 39% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2006 progressed to AIDS within 12 months of their diagnosis. An earlier diagnosis and proper treatment in the early stages of the disease may lead to more effective management of HIV and may slow the progression of AIDS.
The Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health-Care Settings reports that in 2003, there were approximately 1.0 to 1.2 million persons in the United States with HIV, and approximately one-fourth of those persons (252,000-312,000) were unaware of their HIV status. Knowing their status can help HIV-infected individuals gain access to medical care before they begin to develop symptoms and decrease the possibility of unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. This emphasizes the importance of HIV testing - when people know their HIV status, they can take control of their health and their lives.
So you're HIV positive... Now what? Where do you turn to get the information you need and can trust to manage your treatment and care? AIDSinfo offers reliable information about HIV/AIDS, its treatment, and clinical trials testing new HIV drugs. Our Live Help health information specialists (Spanish- and English-speaking) are available Monday through Friday, noon to 4 PM Eastern time to provide one-on-one assistance via the Internet. They can help identify resources and answer questions about HIV and its treatment. Or, if you prefer, contact us by phone and speak directly to our health information specialists Monday through Friday, noon to 5 PM Eastern time. Call us toll-free at: 1-800-448-0440, or contact us by e-mail at: ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.
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