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Department of Health Encourages HIV Testing as part of National HIV Testing Day Observance

Test Your Way. Do It Today.

‘Test Your Way. Do It Today” is the theme of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, and organizations around the state will be holding more than 20 community events featuring free HIV Testing.

"Early detection is key to managing HIV,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Bennett said. “When you learn your HIV status, you can take control of your health and get the medical care you need to stay healthy and protect others.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in seven of them don’t know it. More than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment, according to the CDC.

In New Jersey, more than 37,000 people are living with HIV, and about 10 percent are unaware they have the disease. The CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and those at higher risk should get tested at least once a year. Healthcare professionals should offer an HIV test as part of routine care.

Local health departments, federally qualified health centers and community-based organizations will be hosting events to commemorate National HIV Testing Day. The Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services will host a health fair featuring free testing and HIV education sessions.  Newark Community Health Center will hold a community barbeque offering free testing and other health screenings. Zufall Health Center will deploy its mobile van to the Morristown Soup Kitchen to provide free testing.  Atlantic Regional Medical Center in Pomona will offer free testing in its emergency room as well as an educational presentation.  For a full list of events visit: http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/aids/events.aspx

Although HIV and AIDS remain a persistent problem for the United States is declining, dropping 18 percent between 2008 and 2014 from an estimated 45,700 to 37,600.

“Thanks to the progress in linking new HIV-infections to medical treatment, that decline has been even more significant in New Jersey,” Commissioner Bennett said. “The number of new HIV diagnoses went from 1,720 cases in 2006 to 1,117 in 2015. That represents a 35 percent decline.”

Highly effective treatments are available that can improve longevity and quality of life for those living with HIV. The goal of the annual National HIV Testing Day observance is to make more people aware of their HIV status and link them to life-saving medical treatment before they progress to advanced HIV disease. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the CDC recommends HIV testing with each pregnancy, both for the mother’s benefit and to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby.

Nearly 85,000 free, confidential rapid HIV tests were administered in New Jersey last year at more than 140 locations. This testing program delivers test results in about 20 minutes, and people can be linked to a PrEP Counselor if HIV negative or HIV Clinic if HIV positive. For rapid HIV testing information, call 800-624-2377 or visit the Department's website at www.nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hiv-aids/getting-tested/index.shtml

Strategies for preventing or reducing risk for HIV infection include:

  • Seeking HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), if you are HIV negative but at high risk for HIV; there are 24 PrEP Counselors located across NJ. Call the NJ AIDS/STD Hotline at 800-624-2377 to find the one nearest you
  • Adhering to HIV treatment regimens, if you are HIV-infected
  • Abstaining from sexual activity
  • Using condoms consistently and correctly
  • Avoiding sharing needles to inject fluids
  • Refraining from sharing needles for body piercing or tattoos

For more information about New Jersey HIV services, visit: www.nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hiv-aids/

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

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