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June 27th is National HIV Testing Date

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is June 27, and HIV/AIDS (prevention) organizations across the country will join together in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of knowing your HIV status.

On this day, it is important to note that HIV infection still remains a serious health concern. Many Americans are HIV-positive and unaware of their infection. Not knowing one’s HIV-positive status increases the risk for health complications due to lack of medical treatment, as well as continuing to spread the virus.

Testing is the only way to know if you are infected with HIV. You cannot rely on symptoms. There have been many instances where an HIV-positive individual did not have any symptoms for years and then developed severe complications. HIV does not discriminate. Anyone can become infected through unprotected vaginal and anal sex, sharing needles to inject drugs, and/or from tattooing/piercings. Even newborns are at risk when born to HIV-infected mothers.

Getting tested helps identify those infected with HIV and gets them into treatment. This helps improve their quality of life as well as helps prevent the further spread of HIV. Thanks to medical advancements, getting tested is easier and more time efficient than before. A person can have a rapid test done and know their results in less than an hour.

Current recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that any individual, including pregnant women, between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine medical care. It is strongly suggested that individuals at high risk for becoming infected be tested more often; part of a population that is strongly affected by HIV (African Americans, Latinos, and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races — particularly young African American MSM ages 13 to 24).

If you are looking to find a free, state-funded testing site near you for initial testing or follow-up or have questions about HIV/AIDS, STDs, or hepatitis, contact The New Jersey AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline either by calling 800-624-2377, text/email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or chat via www.njhivstdline.org. They are there to help 24 hours a day/ seven days a week/every day of the year. Calls are free and confidential. They offer:

• Referrals for testing sites and other related services;

• HIV/AIDS, STD and hepatitis prevention information;

• Counseling and treatment locations;

• Treatment information.