UntitledToday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day.

This annual observance was created to promote HIV testing, early diagnosis, and prevention.  Today’s call to “Take the Test, Take Control” encourages all of us to take an active part in bettering our health and that of the community.  In Boston, there were over 5,300 people living with HIV in 2011 and communities of color continue to be disproportionately affected.

The often tossed around saying, what you don’t know won’t hurt you, could not be further from the truth when it comes to HIV.  There are too many people who remain in the dark about their infection.  The CDC estimates that, in the United States, more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV and nearly one in five are unaware of it.  People that do not know about their infection are unable to take advantage of the treatments that can enhance and extend their lives.  By waiting to be diagnosed, you are not only putting yourself at greater health risks, but also those around you.

Although far too many are discouraged by the stigma associated with HIV, it is crucial that we talk about HIV testing with those close to us.  Use today’s observance as a conversation starter.  Encourage your loved ones to take the test and take control of their health. Let National HIV Testing Day be the first day of your healthier life!

You are at risk for HIV, if you:

  • Had unprotected sex (vaginal, anal, or oral)
  • Shared needles or other equipment for injecting drugs
  • Have a history of STIs (sexually transmitted infections)

HIV testing is quick and easy! Free HIV testing events are available around Boston in celebration of National HIV Testing Day.  Check out one of these locations today or tomorrow!

You can also ask your primary care physician about getting tested for HIV or click here to find a testing center near you.  If you need help finding a doctor or getting health insurance, contact the Mayor’s Health Line at (617) 534-5050.

For more information about HIV risk and prevention, read our HIV fact sheet and visit our website.