Today is National HIV Testing Day! National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and www.aids.gov, as well as national and local health care entities and advocacy groups. According to NAPWA, the first National HIV Testing Day was held on June 27, 1995 in response to growing numbers of HIV infections within communities of color and the gay community, and particularly those places where the two at-risk groups intersect. In the words of NAPWA, “HIV testing is a critical first step in taking control and responsibility over one’s health.” The philosophy behind the campaign is simple: know where you stand and act accordingly to keep yourself and others healthy.
To find a site where you can get tested in your community, visit the CDC’s National HIV and STF Testing Resources website. Many sites offer free testing. Just within downtown Rochester you can find free HIV testing at more than 7 locations, including the AIDS Care main offices, Action for a Better Community, and the MOCHA Center. Most testing sites use Rapid Oral and Finger Stick testing, which yields results within 20 minutes. You can visit their websites for contact information and clinic hours.
According to the CDC, there are close to 1.2 million people in the United Staes living with HIV, and almost one in five don’t know they’re infected. Don’t keep yourself in the dark!