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Know your status: It's National HIV Testing Day
June 27th, 2011
10:54 AM ET

Know your status: It's National HIV Testing Day

If you haven't been tested for HIV, today's a good opportunity.

Today, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day, which was created by the The National Association of People with AIDS. You can find a testing site near you through the CDC's website hivtest.org.

Many organizations and communities have organized events around the Testing Day. In Houston, Texas, for instance, there's Hip Hop for HIV Awareness - you get a free ticket to a hip hop concert on July 31 when you get tested.

People unaware of their status transmit the majority of new HIV infections, the CDC says. And nearly 17,000 people with AIDS still die every year in the United States.

Who should get tested? According to the organization, nearly everyone:

Everyone who is old enough to be sexually active or do recreational drugs should be tested routinely at regularly scheduled well-patient doctor’s visits. How old is old enough? If your 12-year-old is old enough to shave, he’s old enough for HIV. If your 11-year-old is old enough for her first bra, so is she.

There are two kinds of HIV tests:

One tests for antibodies in your blood, which might not show up for three to six months after initial infection. You can get results from this test immediately.

The other is the viral load test, which would tell you if you have the virus even if you were infected very recently. The results from test can take a couple of weeks to come back.

HIV is spread primarily through unprotected sex with an infected person, having multiple sex partners and having other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as sharing needles, syringes and other illicit drug equipment. The virus can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding, says the CDC, although antiretroviral drugs can prevent this form of transmission during birth.

AIDS baby: 'I allow HIV to live with me'

It's important to protect yourself, but also be aware that HIV cannot spread through air or water, insects, saliva, tears, sweat, shaking hands or closed-mouth kissing (there is a small chance of transmission through "French" kissing if the HIV-infected person's mouth or gums are bleeding).

Many more people in the United States find out their HIV status thanks to government efforts. A new CDC report finds that about 18,000 cases were newly diagnosed through the Expanded HIV Testing Initiative between 2007 and 2010. That program gave funding to 25 health departments for HIV screening, targeting populations disproportionately affected by HIV.

For a broader perspective on the history of HIV in America, check out our features on AIDS in the '80s, '90s, and 2000s, and this timeline.

And here's how to find an HIV testing event near you.

Follow @cnnhealth on Twitter


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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Common Sense

    Immune

    June 27, 2011 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Nick

    "you get a free ticket to a hip hop concert on July 31 when you get tested." – LOL.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jellomundo

      Why is this funny? This is a great incentive for many young people to get tested.

      June 27, 2011 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
  3. les

    Its more important for people to be tested for cancer. AIDS is no longer a major health problem in the US desite the efforts over the years to exaggerate the prolem and to divert cancer research to AIDS research.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. unbelievable

    May God forgive you. But Repent of your sin first. Repent before our Lord comes back. Repent.

    June 27, 2011 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      May god forgive you for getting a blood transfusion with infected blood. You should not have went to the hospital, knowledge and science are for the devil.

      June 27, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse |
    • Jellomundo

      @Chris: Hilarious!

      June 27, 2011 at 21:59 | Report abuse |
  5. mee

    For those that are not infected nor know anyone who has been infected it may not seem important. But doctors have cures for some cancers. A cure has not been found for aids nor hiv. Yes certain strands are manageable however not curable. And I think that for people to act as if it isn't a big deal or that people who have done wrong are the only ones who catch this virus are extremely ineducated and need to check their research before making comments as you are viewed as being rude. Before yyou open you're mouth I would advise you know what you are speaking of

    June 27, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jennifer

      HIV is almost 100% preventable, unlike cancer and many other diseases. Call me rude for saying that, if you like, but that doesn't make it any less true.

      June 27, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
  6. Chris Morrison

    It is so sad there is not "anonymous" testing in every state rather than "confidential" testing. At least in Georgia, you can go get tested and they do not ask or record any personal information. However, in every other state that I know of, they have confidential testing which means they collect all your personal infomation before you are tested but advise the information and results will never be available to anyone. It will be kept confidential. YEA, RIGHT. What a crock. All of the major insurance companies have multiple illegal access channels to everyone's personal health information. It's all about the money and you can be damn sure they are going to protect that money way before they will protect the public health of this country. When anonymous testing becomes the law, then we see AIDS rates decline.

    June 27, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • taylor

      Massachusetts has anonymous testing too and I completely agree with everything you say.

      June 27, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
  7. J. Rambo

    Oh this is a very big deal , right now the Hiv is just getting started. This thing is going to flat out EXPLODE in the next few years. So those 18 thousand people that tested positive how many people did they spread it to until they found out they had Mr. HIV. No one uses condoms any more. Every one reading this knows exactly what im talking about. Mr. HIV is spreading like a wild fire out of control right now and no one even knows they have it. And its going to hit very hard in Caucasian women. its taken everyone down one by one. The Silent Assasin. Mr. HIV

    June 27, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.