National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is June 27th.  This is a great opportunity to take care of your health, because Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is still alive and well.  It is not easy to tell by looking, whether it has affected someone.  You have to get TESTed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and that 1 in 7 people don’t know that they have the disease.  For African Americans, the number is 1 in 6 who don’t know they have the disease.  Young people are the most likely to be unaware that they have contracted the disease, but people of any age can have HIV.  In fact, HIV can affect any one regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, or age.

For the past few years the CDC has recommended that everyone between ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once as part of their routine health care.  This applies even if you don’t feel you have any risk factors.  People with certain risk factors should be tested more often.  Have you been tested?  The following link provides locations to get FREE TESTING.  Check it out.

HIV is a disease caused by a virus that affects the body’s immune system, specifically the ‘T’ cells.  The immune system helps fight off infections.  Damage to the immune system makes it harder and harder to fight off infection, if not treated.  HIV is generally spread by anal or vaginal intercourse and sharing needles.  According to 2016 numbers African Americans accounted for 44% of HIV diagnoses though representing only 12% of the United States population.  African Americans account for a higher percentage of new HIV diagnoses and those living with HIV compared to other races.  While there is no cure for HIV it can be controlled with early detection and treatment.  For more information, go to https://www.hiv.gov/  and https://positivespin.hiv.gov/ to hear from real people talking about their personal HIV stories.

So, remember to TEST and encourage others to GET TESTED on National HIV Testing Day, June 27th.  In support of this Day, the National Medical Association shared this video testimonial from HIV Activist Rae Lewis Thornton.

Dr. T


© 2015 Colorado Black Health Collaborative
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