US National HIV Testing Day (June 27th, 2012) “Take the Test, Take Control”
HIV/AIDS is one of the causes I am most passionate about, and I just realized that today is US National HIV Testing Day (June 27th, 2012). I am also friends with a lot of folks who are working on the science of fighting HIV/AIDS and thus this is an important occasion to mark and remember.
National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.” Too many people don’t know they have HIV. In the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in five don’t know they are infected. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care and taking medicines regularly helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others.
I know that there are a number of local organizations that work in the field, including YouthCO (with their Peer Education Program) and HIM (the Health Initiative for Men with the “What’s Your Number” campaign).
Data on HIV transmission in Canada are also sobering
At the end of 2008 there were an estimated 65,000 people in Canada living with HIV – up from 57,000 in 2005. Of these, around 26% were unaware of their infection. It is estimated that between 2,300 and 4,300 new HIV infections occur in Canada each year, though many of these are not reported right away.
From the start of testing in November 1985 until the end of December 2008, there have been 67,422 positive HIV tests reported to CIDPC (Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control). In 2009, there were 2,417 positive test results. This figure includes some persons not featured in the table below since they were under 15 years old; their gender was not reported; or they were reported as transgender.
I encourage you to think and reflect about these statistics and to take the test.