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National HIV Testing Day is June 27

Friday, June 19, 2015 | 11:46am

NASHVILLE – In observance of National HIV Testing Day June 27, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage Tennesseans to know their HIV status.

“We agree with current CDC guidelines that everyone aged 13-64 years be tested once for HIV,” said TDH Chief Medical Officer David Reagan, MD, PhD. “Our data show the urgent need for increased efforts to prevent HIV. On average, more than two individuals are diagnosed with HIV every day in Tennessee and no county is immune from the disease. Persons at high risk include injection drug users and their sex partners, persons with multiple sex partners and sex partners of HIV-infected persons. Persons who are at high risk should be tested annually.”

In 2013, there were 820 new cases of HIV diagnosed in Tennessee. Since 1992, more than 25,000 Tennesseans have been diagnosed with HIV disease. Of that number, more than 16,000 Tennesseans are currently living with a diagnosis of HIV. The CDC estimates more than one million people in the US are living with HIV infection today, and that one in five is unaware of his or her infection.

The only way to know your status is to get tested. Anyone can obtain free, confidential HIV testing at Tennessee’s local county health departments. Health department clinics across the state also offer counseling with a trained health care provider on ways to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. A list of local county health departments is available online at http://health.state.tn.us/localdepartments.htm.

Information on other sites and community-based organizations that offer HIV testing can be found online at https://locator.aids.gov/. For basic information about HIV testing, visit www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/testing.html.

Mobile phone users can send a text message with their ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) and within seconds will receive a reply via text message identifying nearby testing sites. Questions about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases can also be answered by calling the Tennessee HIV/STD Hotline at 1-800-525-2437.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.  Learn more about TDH services and programs at http://health.state.tn.us/.