It’s June 1st and we’re gearing up for National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) later this month on June 27. This year, and every year, our goal is to encourage people to take an HIV test. More than one million people are estimated to be living with HIV in the United States. Of those, 200,000 people (that’s one in every five) don’t know that they are HIV positive. When people know their HIV status they are more likely to protect their health and the health of their partners.
Even though many understand the importance of getting regularly tested for HIV, we also know that for some it’s just not that simple. We know that 30 years after the start of the epidemic, there is still stigma about HIV and AIDS. We know that there are barriers to care and treatment. And we know that not everyone is aware of how or where to get an HIV test, or what resources are available for those who are HIV positive.
The good news is that there are hundreds of organizations and agencies across the country that not only offer free or low-cost HIV testing, but also provide treatment and support services for people living with HIV. Many of our Federal agency partners have databases of information about where to go for these services. As a portal for Federal HIV resources and programs, we’ve worked with HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the CDC, and others to develop the HIV/AIDS Prevention & Service Provider Locator. By entering your location (ZIP code, city and state), you can locate nearby prevention, housing, mental health, substance abuse, testing, and treatment services.
You can access the Locator by typing your ZIP code into “Find An HIV Test Site” on our website, but we’ve also developed a widget to help bring this resource to our and your audiences instead of waiting for them to come to us (check out our tools page on widgets for more on what a widget is). This widget allows you to share the locator on your own blog or website. Questions about how it works? Check out the instructions tab, or please email contact@AIDS.gov.
On NHTD and year-round, we hope you will take advantage of this widget to help people access the services they need. We want people to know that whatever the result of their HIV test, there is help. Together we can help reduce stigma. We can encourage people to get tested. Together we can make a difference in the response to HIV.
Looking for other ways to get involved for NHTD?
- Twitter Town Hall: Join us on June 3 for a Twitter Town Hall with the CDC’s National Prevention Information Network and the National Association of People with AIDS to foster dialogue among people planning NHTD events or activities.
- The Current and Future State of HIV Testing in the United States: Join us on June 22 for this webinar and conference call for Federal staff and grantees who work with domestic HIV/AIDS programs. Hear from some of the government’s leading voices on HIV/AIDS, and ask them your questions. Learn more and register by June 18.