Time to get tested! Today is National HIV Testing Day, an annual campaign started two decades ago by the National Association of People with AIDS and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to urge everyone to "Take the Test, Take Control." The CDC recommends annual testing for those who are not considered a high risk group, and more frequent testing for those who are in that high-risk group or have sex with people who are. Organizations across the nation have planned events from free HIV testing marathons to film screenings all aimed at educating and encouraging testing.
Here are just a small sample of the many (often monthlong) activities.
- San Antonio AIDS Foundation has set a goal of 100 tests in 12 hours today at their Grayson Street facility. The foundation is offering free HIV and Syphilis testing, on-site support for those seeking more personal health information, and food and beverages to those who visit up until 8 p.m. tonight.
- The Chicagoland HIV Testing Collaborative's "Step Up. Get Tested." campaign has partnered with WET Lubricant to distribute 100,000 Safe Sex Kits through July 4. The campaign is providing mobile HIV testing all across Chicago.
- AIDSVu is launching an updated interactive online map that illustrates the HIV epidemic by zip code for the 33 U.S. cities that make up almost 60 percent of the epidemic. The map aims to help public health and community leaders to visualize how HIV impacts these cities and to better allocate resources.
- GMHC teamed up with Walgreens, Greater Than Aids, and OraSure Technologies to provide free rapid HIV testing in Times Square in conjunction with talks by each company's representative and celebs including Miss Universe Gabriela Isler and Rachael Ross, MD, co-host of The Doctors.
- The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is hosting special testing events at 16 locations across the United States including Southern California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas and Mississippi. All events include free mobile HIV testing and condom distribution. In addition, AHF and Lifebeat hosted a campaign to distribute tickets for the Know Your Status Stage (KYSS) Concert to those who got tested at AHF's facilities in June.
Click here to find a National HIV Testing Day event near you today.
To find an HIV testing site near you any time of the year, be sure to visit Locator.AIDS.gov.