The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one out of five people living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware of their HIV status. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
According to the website for National HIV and STD Testing Resources, National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage people of all ages to "Take the Test, Take Control." Since 1995, it has been an opportunity for people nationwide to learn their HIV status, gain knowledge and take control of their health and their lives. At the end of 2006, an estimated 1.1 million persons in the United States were living with diagnosed or undiagnosed HIV infection.
HIV is still a serious threat across the United States. While there have been advances in treatments to help people with HIV live longer than ever before, AIDS is still a considerable health issue, claiming more than 14,000 lives each year in the United States. Still, HIV/AIDS is preventable, and there are three critical ways of reducing your risk:
Don't have sex. Don't have anal sex, vaginal sex, and/or oral sex with anyone, at all. Self service is totally fine and encouraged. In fact, the safest sex is with yourself.
Use a Condom. Abstinence may not be the best option for you. If so, make sure to use a latex condom every single time you sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with a partner whose HIV status is unknown.
Get tested. Newly monogamous, as well as newly polyamourous partners should be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse.
Locate an HIV or STD testing site near you or text your zip code to KNOWIT (566948). You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1800-232-4636) for assistance in locating a testing site.
SOURCE: The Center for Disease Control