June 27, 2008 is national HIV testing day. There are more than 1 million people in the United States living with HIV. One-fourth of them do not know that they are HIV-infected. Could you be one of them? The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, and it is hitting Americans hard. More than 40,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year.
One of the main difficulties in fighting AIDs is a few misinformed persons led by Dr. Peter Duesberg and former journalist Celia Farber who deny the evidence that HIV causes AIDs. All major science and doctors groups completely agree that HIV is the cause of AIDs. This was made clear at the Durban Declaration, published in Nature Magazine, and signed by 5.000 leading scientists.
“For HIV testing week, the most important thing we need to do is to fight AIDs ignorance, and myth,” states health activist Dr. James Murtagh. “It is really inexcusable for any person or group to deny the absolute truth that HIV causes AIDs.”
HIV testing is the rock on which education, prevention and testing is based.
“Anyone who denies that HIV causes AIDs might as well claim the world is flat, or the world does not orbit the sun, or that the moon is made of green cheese. The science is absolute. Just because there is a scientific consensus does not show the consensus is wrong.” Dr. Murtagh continued. “Why would anyone not want to know their HIV status?”
In the United States, many more men are infected with HIV/AIDS than women. In 2005, almost three-quarters of all HIV/AIDS diagnoses were for males.
The largest number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 2005 were for men who have sex with men, followed by adults and teens infected through heterosexual contact.
Minorities are greatly disproportionately affected by the disease. In 2005, African Americans, who make up approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population, accounted for almost half of the estimated number of HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African American women ages 25 to 34.
From 2001 through 2005, the estimated number of AIDS cases in the United States increased among all racial and ethnic groups.
Know Your Status. Get Tested for HIV.
If you do not know if you are infected with HIV, you could be spreading it to others. If you are HIV-positive, you must take steps to prevent passing your HIV infection to another person.
Where Can I Get Tested?
Free and confidential or anonymous HIV tests are available. To find an HIV testing site near you, visit www.hivtest.org. Or, call: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) Open 24 hours a day — Confidential
National Association of People with AIDS urge the following.
• Be safe. The best way to prevent HIV is to abstain from having sex. If you do have sex, use a new latex condom every time. Do not share needles or syringes.