FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2011
National HIV Testing Day events set
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Events will be held throughout South Carolina the week of June 27 in observance of National HIV Testing Day, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.
“June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, which gives us the opportunity to highlight DHEC’s low-cost HIV testing services that are offered routinely at DHEC’s county public health departments across the state,” said Janet Tapp, director for DHEC’s STD/HIV Division. “In addition, DHEC’s community-based partners will offer the rapid HIV test, which shows preliminary results within an hour, at no charge.
“We are pleased about the increasing options for HIV testing in community-based settings over the past several years because it provides greater access for persons to know their HIV status,” Tapp said. “Testing is the first step in connecting affected people to appropriate care, which includes treatment and prevention services.
“DHEC encourages all persons to learn their status and gain access to the most appropriate system of care if they are infected,” Tapp said. “Some might delay getting tested until they become ill with HIV. However, it is very important not to delay. Health care providers urge early testing so treatment can begin before people are too sick to benefit from it.”
Tapp said this year’s National HIV Testing Day comes at a pivotal time as the U.S. marks 30 years since the first reported diagnosis of what would later be known as AIDS.
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1.1 million Americans live with HIV, and approximately 230,000 of them are unaware they are infected with the virus. DHEC statistics show more than 15,000 people living with HIV in South Carolina.
For more information about HIV testing events and sites, call DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437). For more information, visit DHEC’s STD/HIV webpage at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv/.