12 October 2011

National HIV Testing Day

HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest challenges that we face in the modern times. As it is, the situation is getting worse day by day. A major reason for this is the fact, that, most people are not aware of the fact, that, they are infected with HIV.

This has changed the situation from bad to worse. As we see all around us, the world is filled with undetected cases of HIV infections. This is a potential danger. People most often, unknowingly infect others, who in turn pass the virus to someone else. This way, the cycle continues.

The best way that we have in our hand, to deal with this problem, is HIV testing; which can prove to be an important tool in stopping the disease from spreading further. An active step in this direction is the National HIV testing day.

National HIV testing day is being held on June 27 each year, for the past many years. The idea of this program is to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS, among the people, so as to minimize the spread of HIV.

Typically, HIV testing has a number of advantages. Some of them are as follows:

1. The first and foremost advantage of HIV testing is that, it stops you from spreading the virus any further, if you have knowledge of your infection. This means that you can save your partner from getting infected with the disease, by taking necessary precautions.

2. Longer life span is the second advantage of HIV Testing. Studies have shown a considerable improvement of the life span amongst those, who were affected by HIV/AIDS; where proper medication has actually slowed the progress of the virus. As a result, the life expectancy of the patients increased by as many as five to six years. This is a commendable thing, especially when it takes eight to ten years for HIV to develop into AIDS.

3. Thirdly, if you are a pregnant woman, infected with the virus, you have chances of lowering the risk of infecting your unborn child. Also, you can stop the virus from spreading to your children by way of breast milk.
According to a rough estimate, more than two hundred and fifty thousand people in America are infected with this disease; and a major portion of them are not even aware of it. This makes it a potent disaster waiting to happen. However, you can actually lower its impact. All you need to do is to register yourself for HIV testing and make the National HIV testing day, a great success.

Take the test, take control” is the theme of the National HIV testing events this year. Recently National HIV testing Day took place on June 27 across U.S with the motive of raising public awareness and saving lives.

The events which promoted awareness among the people against the deadly disease also offered free testing for the people.
The Health Officials believe that 250,000 Americans are infected with HIV, but do not know it.

If these people take part in such events and get themselves tested, then a lot of awareness can be built among them so that they take care of themselves and also save lives of others from being infected.

Other than this, three HIV/AIDS testing sites in the metro Detroit area will be available today. Testing will be conducted in the metro area at these locations:

The Midwest AIDS Prevention Project in Ferndale will be testing at 429 Livernois from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. today.

The city Department of Health and Wellness Promotion will be testing at Belle Isle Casino in downtown Detroit from 10 to 5 p.m.
AIDS Partnership Michigan will be testing at 2751 E. Jefferson in Detroit, though the times were not available Thursday.
The type of test varies by location. Some sites will test using a mouth swab, while others will use the finger-pricking method. No appointment is necessary. For testing sites elsewhere in Michigan, call 800-872-2437 or go online to www.aidspartnership.org. 

Margaret Jones, HIV counselor for the Detroit Health Department feels that Prevention is the key to avoid HIV/AIDS.
“We want to prevent the spread of HIV, so it is very important that everyone knows their status”. She said.
About 350 people test positive among the more than 68,000 tested for HIV each year at Michigan Department of Community Health sites. About 7,160 people in the city of Detroit were living with HIV/AIDS in April 2007, Jones said.
But unfortunately, not many are aware of their status.
Because anyone can get HIV, CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested as a routine part of their medical care. CDC also recommends that pregnant women be tested early during each pregnancy. This will help eliminate the spread of HIV to infants.

Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available live-saving treatments. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they have already developed AIDS that can be up to 10 years after they first became infected with HIV.

Finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health and the health of your partners and your family. The week of June 27 there will be thousands of organizations offering HIV testing and hosting special NHTD events. Make plans to get tested and encourage others to get tested as well with an e-Card.

Organized annually by the National Association of People with AIDS* (NAPWA), with support from CDC, this year marks the 16th Annual NHTD. The theme of campaign – "Take the Test. Take Control" – highlights the need for HIV testing.

NAPWA and other NHTD organizers reach out to communities at increased risk of HIV infection, especially African American and Latino populations. HIV exacts a devastating toll on African Americans, who account for almost half of new HIV diagnoses (49% in 2006) but only approximately 13% of the population in the 33 states with confidential name-based HIV reporting. Latinos are also hard hit, accounting for nearly 20% of new HIV diagnoses (18% in 2006) but only approximately 13% of population in those 33 states with confidential name-based HIV reporting.

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