By Scrubadoo’s Jen Hankin
Today, June 27, is the eighteenth annual National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). The National Association of People with AIDS created the annual day to promote HIV testing in 1995. Within the first year of promoting HIV testing and a protease-inhibitor based “cocktail,” many of those living with the disease were seeing significant improvement in their health and some actually getting back to work. But for those living with HIV, it’s still a long term struggle, with a small light at the tunnel!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a million Americans have HIV — but as many as 20% of those who don’t know they’re infected. Officials say this is because people can live symptom-free for years.
We have lost many visionaries to the struggle, like Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times. He wrote in 1989: “Art has confronted AIDS the way people confront AIDS — with fear, anger, sorrow, defiance and confusion. In a country that idolizes youth and health, AIDS has struck at the very heart of the American self-image.”
This quote is just as relevant today as it was more than 2 decades ago. This is why it’s so important to Take the Test, Take Control!
During National HIV Testing Day, this one day a year for all of us, or once a quarter for those of us in high-risk groups like gay men who have more than five partners a year, get tested! We should all be proud of who we are and protect ourselves and those we love.
Today many local churches, heath institutions and some pharmacies will provide free testing, find a testing center near you!