10th Annual National HIV Testing Day To Be Held on Sunday
The 10th annual National HIV Testing Day -- which is designed to increase awareness of the disease, reduce stigma and encourage people to be tested for HIV -- will be held on Sunday, June 27, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (Dyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/24). The day, which is organized by the National Association of People with AIDS, will include thousands of events organized by health departments and not-for-profit groups under the theme "It's Better to Know" (NAPWA release, 5/3). Testing events in many places will coincide with fundraisers, health fairs and festivals (Bueno, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/25). National HIV Testing Day is supported by CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Bristol-Myers Squibb and NAPWA donors and members (NAPWA Web site, 6/24). An estimated 900,000 people in the United States are HIV-positive, but 25% are not aware of their status, according to the Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News (Collins, Salt Lake City Deseret Morning News, 6/23). According to the Kaiser Family Foundation's "Survey of Americans on HIV/AIDS," 48% of U.S. adults have been tested for HIV at least once, and 20% have been tested in the past year, the Detroit Free Press reports (Bullock, Detroit Free Press, 6/22). However, 23% of the people reported having been tested as part of a routine exam. "It's possible that some of these people who think they have been tested actually weren't," Kaiser Family Foundation HIV Policy Director Jennifer Kates said (Marini, San Antonio Express-News, 6/22).
"Usually more people get tested on this one day than usually get tested in a couple months," Eugene Collins, education and prevention coordinator at the Baton Rouge AIDS Society, said, adding, "If you don't know your status, you're part of the problem" (Wold, Baton Rouge Advocate, 6/21). President Bush in a speech on Wednesday in Philadelphia encouraged people to undergo HIV testing. He said, "Across America, June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. For the sake of their health and for the sake of the health of others, I urge all Americans at risk to get the test." The National HIV Testing Day Web site includes a listing of events and testing centers throughout the country (NAPWA release, 6/24).
Some newspapers have published editorials on the event. Summaries of two of the pieces appear below:
Columbia State: HIV testing is the "first step" to getting proper treatment and preventing HIV transmission is "key to slowing the spread of the virus," a State editorial says, concluding, "If we're to stop the spread of HIV, those with the infection must know about it and take appropriate action" (Columbia State, 6/21).
- Detroit Free Press: "Ignorance about AIDS is anything but bliss," and testing is "vital not only to check the spread of the disease but also to promote the health of the person infected," a Free Press editorial says, adding that testing and education are the "simplest but most effective tools" in the fight against HIV/AIDS (Detroit Free Press, 6/21).