Thursday, June 27, has been declared National HIV Testing Day through the Department of Public Health (DPH). Some local health departments across the state are hosting free testing events in an effort to make individuals aware of their status and be linked to services when needed.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 20 percent of people with HIV do not know they are infected, and one-third of those individuals will be diagnosed so late they develop AIDS within one year. People who do not know they are infected with HIV are believed to transmit the virus to more than half of the people who become newly infected each year.
Routine HIV screening is recommended for all people age 13 to 64. People at high risk for contracting HIV include those with multiple sex partners or whose sex partners have multiple sex partners; injection drug-users and their sex partners; people who exchange sex for money or drugs; men who have sex with men; and sex partners of someone with HIV.
The Knox County Health Department offers HIV testing locally. Call 546-3486 for more information.
Belinda Prichard, RN, BSN
Knox County Health Department