WASHINGTON, June 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the National
Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) sponsors the seventh
annual National HIV Testing Day. Federal and corporate partners
join NAPWA in supporting more than 10,000 communities across
the country as they organize local activities to encourage
those at risk to get tested and to educate the general public
about HIV and AIDS.
"National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity to talk about HIV
testing in all of our communities, to take away the fear and
mystery about testing," said Terje Anderson, Executive Director
of NAPWA. "Barriers to testing, such as being unaware of risk,
fear of the test results, lack of access to care and treatment,
and the stigma of being HIV positive stop people from getting
tested. We need to talk about these issues so that the nearly
300,000 individuals in this country who are HIV positive and
don't know it can take the test, get the results, and get into
treatment if they need to."
Over the last decade, the incidence of HIV has increased most
dramatically among African-Americans and Hispanics. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that
while African-Americans and Hispanics combined make up slightly
more than 25% of the United States population, these groups
account for more than 70% of new HIV infections.
Men who have sex with men were also reported among the largest
proportion of new infections with a particularly high rate of
infection among youth, African-Americans and Hispanics. This
group is followed by men and women infected through
heterosexual sex and injection drug use.
"No one can know what changes the next decade will bring to the
HIV/AIDS epidemics," said Secretary of Health and Human
Services Tommy G. Thompson. "We must encourage individuals to
seek testing for HIV infection and at the same time, we must
ensure access to counseling, treatment and support services for
"People of color are disproportionately at risk for HIV," said
Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H, Director of CDC's National Center
for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. "Our challenge is to work
effectively with communities of color to increase knowledge of
HIV status and ultimately to eliminate racial and ethnic
disparities in new HIV infections."
Launched in 1995 by NAPWA, the annual campaign, themed "Take
the Test, Take Control," is designed to increase the number of
people at risk for HIV who get tested, learn their sero-status
and take charge of their health.
Events commemorating National HIV Testing Day will be held in
communities across the country. National campaign sponsors
joining NAPWA include CDC, the Health Resources Service
Administration (HRSA), Cable Positive, the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National
Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, among others.
NAPWA is one of the nation's largest and most influential AIDS
advocacy groups. The organization impacts public health
policies and provides sustained prevention education and
support for those living with HIV and AIDS.
For additional information on National HIV Testing Day, please
call Beth Strode at 601-992-9600 or log on to
http://www.nhtd.org . For more information on HIV/AIDS please
call CDC at 404-639-8895 or log on to http://www.hivtest.org .
SOURCE National Association of People with AIDS Web Site: