National HIV Testing Day is observed annually on June 27. It is a day to encourage people to get tested, know their status, and get linked to treatment and care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the U.S. and dependent areas.
This year’s theme is “HIV Testing is Self-care.” According to the 2019 State of Alabama HIV Surveillance Annual Report, an estimated 1 in 5 people with HIV in Alabama are unaware of their infection and, subsequently, are not receiving regular medical care to manage the disease. Self-care, which includes physical and mental health, has been an important topic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is important that we realize HIV testing is an act of self-care,” said Jora White, Alabama Department of Public Health HIV Prevention Division director. “This is a day to highlight the importance of HIV testing, assist in ending the stigma centered around HIV/AIDS, and most importantly know your status and get linked to care. It is vital to educate yourself and your community on prevention methods such as HIV education, testing and sharing information regarding the availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within healthcare facilities and community spaces where individuals will benefit most.”
Since the launching of the 2019 national initiative, Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE), the goal is to focus efforts on diagnosing, treating, preventing, and responding to new HIV infections in the U.S. with an overall goal of reducing new HIV infections by 90 percent by 2030. Let’s Stop HIV Together is a campaign that is part of the EHE initiative. The EHE initiative in Alabama highlights ways to reduce HIV stigma and promote testing and treatment for priority populations such as people who inject drugs, transgender, Latinx and countless other communities.