MDCH Recognizes June 27 as National HIV Testing DayContact: James McCurtis 517-241-2112
In an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is recognizing June 27 as National HIV Testing Day.
An estimated quarter of a million Americans are unaware of their HIV infection, but knowing their status could save their lives. In the MDCH funded testing sites throughout Michigan, more than 83,000 people are tested for HIV every year, and about 450 of those tests are positive for HIV.
"It is very important for people who may be at risk for HIV to get tested," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "Knowing your status can protect your health and the health of your partner."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that every 9 ½ minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not aware of their infection until they are diagnosed with AIDS, meaning they have likely been infected for several years prior to getting tested. In Michigan, April 2010 MDCH epidemiological data indicates 18,800 individuals are currently living with HIV. Of those, 14,574 have been diagnosed.
In recognizing National HIV Testing Day, MDCH takes on the national public awareness campaign designed to educate the public about HIV counseling, testing and referral, and encouraging more people to assess their risk of HIV infection. The National Testing Day theme, "Take the Test, Take Control" was chosen to motivate people to be tested to learn their test results. If positive, get treatment. If negative, assess their risk and change risky behaviors.
Testing for HIV can be anonymous or confidential and is offered through a variety of options. Testing is conducted by either a traditional blood draw finger stick or orally (by mouth) using a swab that gently collects cells in the cheek and gum area inside the mouth and provides quick, accurate, and painless results. There is also the option for a rapid HIV test at some testing sites, which takes only 20 minutes to obtain preliminary test results. Testing is offered throughout Michigan to accommodate client needs.
National HIV Test Day provides the opportunity for local health departments and community-based organizations to work in collaboration to provide HIV testing opportunities for at-risk populations. These opportunities are provided through mobile clinics, outreach at bars, parks and churches and community-wide events. Events are planned across Michigan to raise awareness and promote HIV testing among Michigan residents.
For a testing site in your area, please call 1-800-872-AIDS. You can also go to www.michigan.gov/hivstd and click on Michigan's HIV/AIDS Counseling and Testing Sites in Michigan.