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Take the Test, Take Control

By on June 24, 2013
natlhivtestday

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.”

Each year, on June 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AIDS.gov , and other national and local entities across the country organize National HIV Testing Day. This unique initiative sends the message, “Take the Test, Take Control,” to those at risk from HIV. You can support this health initiative with a visible sign like a poster or a website widget. National HIV Testing Day was launched in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS in response to the growing number of HIV infections in communities of color and other heavily impacted communities.

If you are thinking about an HIV test, know the facts. There are certain behaviors that increase your chances of getting HIV. If you answer yes to any of these below, you should consider getting an HIV test. If you continue with any of these behaviors, you should consider getting tested more often. Talk to a health care provider about an HIV testing schedule that is right for you.

  • Have you injected drugs or steroids or shared equipment (such as needles, syringes, works) with others?
  • Have you had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners?
  • Have you exchanged sex for drugs or money?
  • Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), like syphilis?
  • Have you had unprotected sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions?

Nearly 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S., and almost one in five don’t know they are infected. HIV testing is a critical first step in taking control and responsibility over one’s health.

Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.

You can get the facts about HIV/AIDS as well as information about related services by calling the free hotlines in your state.

While an HIV test cannot prevent you from becoming HIV infected, it can provide critical health information to you and/or a sexual partner. Remember that HIV is transmitted through blood, semen (and found in pre-seminal fluid), vaginal secretions, and breast milk. Using a latex condom consistently or abstaining from sex are some ways to reduce and prevent transmission. Another way is to avoid needle-sharing for any reason.

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