June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. Today is National HIV Testing Day. Why should you care? The CDC says one in six people don’t even know they have HIV. Over one-million people are currently living with the disease. Since the disease first surfaced in the early 1980s, it has killed more than 35-million people around the world.
The good news? Modern antiretroviral medications can keep people with HIV alive for decades. According to new research, a white gay man in America diagnosed with HIV today at age 20 can expect to live as long as any healthy man in the U.S.
Who should get tested? The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once for HIV. Women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant should also get tested. At-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users, and sex workers should be tested every three to six months.
A few other facts to consider:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV.
- Young people aged 13 to 24 accounted for an estimated 26% of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010.
- Almost 60% of youth with HIV in the United States don’t know they are infected.
- The biggest challenge is perception, you know, the good ole “it’ll never happen to me” nonsense. It can and it will if you’re not protecting yourself – and it only takes once! So be smart AND GET TESTED! It’s as simple as a saliva swab. Don’t know where to go? Visit cdc.gov.