The National Holiday You Should Care About
Since 1995, June 27th has been designated as National HIV Testing Day—NHTD—in the United States. The main objectives of this essential day are to emphasize and encourage people to:
- Get tested for HIV.
- Know their HIV status.
- Get linked to care and treatment services.
Why Is This National Day So Important?
Early HIV testing is a crucial element in slowing the spread of HIV infection and saving the lives of those who test positive. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they’ve been infected with HIV and are unlikely to take the necessary precautions that help prevent the spread to others. On the other hand, studies indicate that people who are aware of their HIV infection are less likely to engage in high-risk behavior.
Early HIV Testing is Crucial
HIV has cost America more than 700,000 lives since 1981 and remains a significant public health issue. Approximately 1.2 million American people—aged 13 and older—are currently living with HIV, and at least 14% are unaware and in need of testing. In addition, many more people are at risk of HIV infection, particularly gay and bisexual men and racial and ethnic minorities.
Benefits to Yourself—Early Treatment
The earlier you’re diagnosed with HIV, the sooner you can start treatment. Early treatment means you’re less likely to get sick because of HIV-related cancers, AIDS, and other opportunistic infections. Unfortunately, more than 33% of HIV-positive people are diagnosed in the later stages of the disease, too late to reap the benefits of early treatment. If started before symptoms appear, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is very effective and can keep people healthy for many years.
Benefits to Others—Reduced Spread
HIV testing is also very effective at preventing its spread. However, the statistics regarding how HIV is generally spread are shocking:
- Those unaware of their HIV status are three times more likely to spread the virus than those aware of their HIV status.
- The 20% of the population unaware of their HIV status is responsible for 50% to 70% of new HIV infections.
Where To Get Your HIV Test in Fort Worth, TX
In 2016, Texas was ranked as the third-worst state for newly reported cases of HIV. HIV testing in Fort Worth, TX, is easy, quick, confidential, and safe. In addition, HIV self-tests can be done when and where you choose. The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 gets tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. For those at higher risk, CDC recommends getting tested at least once a year.
Right now, many local health departments, community-based organizations, and clinics are open for HIV testing. Additionally, some of these organizations and the CDC are distributing free HIV self-testing kits.
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation
- AIDS Outreach Center
- Collins Family Planning Clinic
- Health Center for LGBT Health
- MHMR of Tarrant County
- Tarrant County Public Health Adult Health Services
How To Prevent Getting and Spreading HIV
Prevent the spread of HIV by:
- Getting tested
- Knowing the status of your partners
- Avoiding substance abuse that can adversely affect your decisions
- Building relationships with healthcare practitioners you can trust
How You Can Help Spread the Word
2021’s NHTD theme—My Test, My Way—provides opportunities to talk about the testing options available. With at-home HIV tests available, audiences can be empowered to choose based on their preferences and convenience. Use this theme to add a tagline to customize your social posts, including:
- My Test, My Way – Contribute to Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.
- My Test, My Way – Take Pride by taking the test.
- My Test, My Way – Let’s be the generation to end the HIV epidemic.
- My Test, My Way – Let’s all get tested and stop HIV together.
- My Test, My Way – No matter your test result, there are options to help you stay healthy.
You can also use the hashtag #HIVTesting Day on your social media channels.
At Think Before You Sleep, we take HIV testing seriously. Be safe and educated in your choices. In need of an HIV test? Think Before You Sleep continually works to serve people living with or at risk for HIV with dignity and respect, offering a wealth of resources, information, and empowerment, ensuring good health for the mind and body.