Friday, June 26, 2015

National HIV Testing Day - June 27, 2015

By Ceasar Montoya

The first National HIV Testing Day was observed June 27, 1995. Fast forward 20 years to 2015. Many things have changed in the world of HIV care, prevention, and testing. We have technologies which aid in determining HIV infection earlier than what was possible in 1995.

The methods of transmission have remained the same. HIV is transmitted via blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. Risks include sexual contact without a condom, injection drug use or needle sharing, and from mother to child.

We have made progress in significantly reducing the risk of HIV transmission from mother to child through early detection and treatment throughout pregnancy. We are now able to offer Pre Exposure Prophylactics or PrEP to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of HIV from HIV (+) sexual partner to HIV (-) partner. We are also able to reduce the risk of transmission by linking HIV positive people to care and getting them on medication in order to reach viral suppression.

Through all the progress we have made combating HIV, one of the greatest tools we have at hand remains knowing your status. This is done through testing. Testing technologies today allows a test result to be delivered at a medical provider’s office, counseling center, clinic, outreach event, or at home when purchasing a test kit from a pharmacy.

Know your status, test with your partners, and be aware of risks. Through testing and communication, you become a part of the progress toward eradicating the disease of HIV.

For further information on HIV testing activities for NHTD 2015, and for testing sites visit AIDS.gov's HIV Testing Day page.