5 things to know about HIV Testing Day
June 27 marks the second National HIV Testing Day in Canada, an event designed to raise awareness about HIV and the importance of getting tested. National HIV Testing Day has been a part of the testing community’s calendar in the United States since 1995, with organizations like Greater Than AIDS providing HIV testing opportunities across the country.
We are once again supporting the Canadian AIDS Society and Greater Than AIDS by donating 1 minute INSTI HIV Tests and providing training for healthcare professionals to ensure that as many individuals as possible can benefit from this important day.
Knowing your status is the key
The first step in taking care of your sexual health is knowing your status, whatever the result may be.
Gary Lacasse of the Canadian AIDS Society explains, ‘’This event is truly about normalizing HIV testing, increasing Canadians’ capacity to make informed decisions regarding their own sexual health.”
The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can be linked to care, whether that is treatment for HIV, preventative medicines like PrEP, or more information on the options that can work for you.
Find testing events near you:
Stigma still holds us back in many ways
Did you know that there has been a 17.1% increase in the number of new HIV infections diagnosed in Canada between 2014 and 2017? Or that that 1 in 7 people who are living with HIV in the United States do not know their status?
While testing has become increasingly accessible over the years, attitudes and perceptions about HIV can be harder to change. Barriers to testing such as stigma can make it much harder to seek out testing, despite earlier diagnosis of HIV being associated with a better quality of life.
Events like today spark conversations about HIV. When it’s easier to talk about HIV, it can be easier to access these vital services.
This wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of so many people
Last year more than 800 people were tested on Canada’s first ever National HIV Testing Day, and the Canadian AIDS Society aims to test even more in 2019. Free HIV testing is also available at Walgreens stores in more than 260 cities in the United States, with no appointment needed.
National HIV Testing Day is the result of hard work from countless organizations and the individuals that support them, many of whom work as volunteers. Thanks to their dedication, there is hope that we can end the HIV epidemic.
You can’t pass it on: U=U
One of the key themes for National HIV Testing Day in 2019 is U=U. This growing movement recognizes the scientific evidence, that undetectable = untransmittable.
But what does that mean?
When you achieve viral suppression from taking HIV medicine and continue to stay at undetectable levels of HIV, you can stay healthy and have no risk of transmitting the virus to others. This is an important factor in reducing stigma and reinforces that people living with HIV can live long, healthy lives without worrying about passing on their infection.
Testing is possible every day of the year
We are proud that the 1-minute INSTI test supports National HIV Testing day events by being fast, flexible and accurate. Whether testing is taking place in a remote rural clinic or a busy city event, the simple fingerstick blood test provides results immediately to speed up linkage to further treatment, care and counseling.
While National HIV Testing Day is a fantastic reminder to get tested, you can check your status any time of the year through the following helpful resources: