For the past 17 years, the National Association of People Living with AIDS has sponsored National HIV Testing Day on June 27th to encourage people throughout the world to get tested for HIV. According to the CDC around 21% of people in America who are living with HIV are currently unaware. Some people don’t think they are at risk and some are just afraid to know but regardless HIV testing to catch it early is the number way to help stop HIV from progressing to AIDS in a individual person and to help stop the spread of HIV.
According to a study done in 2008 and published in The Lancet, a 20 year old who is diagnosed with and starts immediate treatment of HIV can expect to live an additional 49 years. Comparatively a person who doesn’t start treatment until they are already diagnosed with full blown AIDS will usually have ten fewer years than someone who started treatment when they had a CD4 count above 200.
According to an international study done by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases a person who is HIV positive and being treated is 96% LESS likely to pass on the infection. Let me repeat that for emphasis: people who are being treated for HIV/AIDS are 96% less likely to pass on the infection to a partner. Think about this, if treatment reduces transmission by 96% instead of 50,000 new cases each year in the U.S. that number would drop to 2000. If everyone who was HIV positive attained treatment then 48,000 fewer people would contract HIV each year.
In honor of National HIV Testing Day, many places are offering free tests call 1-800-458-5231 or visit HIVTest.org to find the nearest location. Even if you can’t make it today, a lot of places that offer HIV testing offer it free of charge all year round, so if you are sexually active, forget the excuses and fears and get tested ASAP.