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National HIV Testing Day --- June 27, 2004

National HIV Testing Day is June 27. This annual event is sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage persons at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to get tested and learn their status. This year's theme, "It's Better to Know," underscores the importance of being tested for HIV. An estimated 850,000--950,000 persons in the United States are HIV positive, and an estimated one in four are not aware of their infection (1). Persons who know they are infected can benefit from advances in medical care that can prolong their lives, and they can take action to prevent transmission to others.

HIV testing has become easier, more accessible, and less invasive in 2004. One antibody test can provide preliminary results in as little as 20 minutes and can be used in both medical and nonclinical settings (2). A new oral version of that test, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April, will make getting tested even easier by eliminating the need for a finger-stick blood sample.

Additional information about where to get tested and local events being held to encourage testing among populations at greatest risk (e.g., non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and men who have sex with men) is available at http://www.hivtest.org.

References

  1. Fleming P, Byers RH, Sweeney PA, Daniels D, Karon JM, Janssen RS. HIV prevalence in the United States, 2000 [Abstract]. Presented at the 9th Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections, Seattle, Washington, 2002.
  2. CDC. Approval of a new rapid test for HIV antibody. MMWR 2002;51:1051--2.



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