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Increasing Awareness and Early Diagnosis on National HIV Testing Day

Jaime Rosenberg
As tomorrow marks National HIV Testing Day, over 400 organizations and clinics nationwide are spearheading efforts to promote testing.
Today, June 27, marks National HIV Testing Day—a day dedicated to encouraging people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and get linked to care—with organizations and clinics nationwide spearheading efforts to promote testing. This year’s theme, "Doing it My Way, Testing for HIV," calls on everyone to find their own way of making HIV testing a part of their lifestyle.

An early HIV diagnosis and subsequent treatment initiation is crucial for achieving viral suppression, reducing the risk of transmission, and improving patient outcomes. However, according to the CDC, 1 in 7 people with HIV do not know that they are infected, and many have HIV for years before their infection is diagnosed. In addition, less than half of adults have ever gotten tested for HIV, and many who are at high risk of HIV are not screened annually. A large part of preventing new infections is making HIV testing easy, accessible, and routine.

In order to promote widespread testing, HIV testing events across the country are providing free and confidential testing. Recognizing that people don’t always know where they can get tested in their region, the CDC has a map tracker where anyone can locate a testing day event in the area by putting in their zip code or city.

Nationwide, more than 400 health departments, organizations, and clinics are offering free testing and same day results, counseling, and HIV education sessions for all walk-ins. Offering incentives, some locations are providing music, food and refreshments, and free giveaways for those who come in for testing.

Earlier this month, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS announced that they are partnering up with 220 health departments, AIDS service organizations, and other community organizations for National HIV Testing Day to help provide HIV testing and information at Walgreens stores in over 180 cities. Participating stores will provide free, confidential, and fast test results on site, without the need for an appointment. Counselors will be available at the stores to answer questions regarding prevention and treatment methods.

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