amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Take the Test, Take Control

June 27 Is National HIV Testing Day

nhtd logoAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware they are infected. If you’re HIV-positive, knowing your status through early testing and diagnosis is a critical first step toward accessing life-extending treatment and preventing the spread of HIV to partners. June 27, 2013, marks the 18th annual National HIV Testing Day. Communities around the country will stage free testing events and awareness campaigns to encourage people to learn their status.

Are you positive you’re negative? According to studies, more than half of American adults have never been tested for HIV. Even 30 years after the first cases of HIV/AIDS were identified in the U.S., several myths surrounding the virus persist, leading many Americans to believe they don’t need to be tested. Others avoid getting tested for fear of knowing their status and because of the stigma that may come with being HIV-positive.

National HIV Testing Day’s message—“Take the Test, Take Control”—emphasizes the importance of early testing, diagnosis and linkage to care for those who are HIV positive. “We must ensure that people get tested and that those who are HIV-positive are linked to timely and effective care,” says CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "To do this, it is imperative that we increase the number of people who are routinely tested for HIV in health care settings, and also make it easier for people to get tested in community settings."

For more information about events, testing locations, and resources, visit the National HIV Testing Day website , www.hivtest.org, or www.gytnow.org.