Across the U.S., June 27 is National HIV Testing Day
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and across the nation, AIDS service organizations, LGBT groups and even local drugstores are holding events to promote people getting tested and knowing their serostatus. This year’s theme urges people to "Take the Test and Take Control," with various events going on throughout the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S., an estimated one in six does not know that he is infected and only one in four has his virus under control with treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV. Those with HIV who are on treatment and in care can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others by as much as 96 percent.
In New York City, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) is teaming with Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the U.S. domestic epidemic, and OraSure Technologies to offer free rapid HIV testing from its mobile testing van in Times Square, directly in front of Walgreens. The testing event is part of a national initiative that is taking place in more than 100 cities from June 26-28. For more information, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.
In conjunction with the testing event, a press conference will be held at noon on June 26, and will feature appearances and comments by Dr. Rachael Ross, co-host of "The Doctors," Walgreens NYC Pharmacy Supervisor Morton Shaw, RPh, for Walgreens and GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie.
The press conference will draw attention to the critical role that HIV testing and prevention education play in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS in NYC and across the U.S.
Free HIV testing with OraQuick ADVANCE oral swab rapid test will be available to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the GMHC mobile van in the pedestrian area directly in front of Walgreens, 1471 Broadway (NW corner of Broadway and 42nd Street). The test is simple, greater than 99 percent accurate and results are available in 20 minutes. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, an over-the-counter version of OraQuick ADVANCE, is also available for purchase at Walgreens retail locations or at Walgreens.com. It is the same test that doctors and healthcare professionals have relied on and used for 10 years.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has teamed up with Greater Than AIDS, a leading public information response to the domestic epidemic, to educate the public on the importance of routine HIV/AIDS testing and to empower listeners to know their status.
Beginning June 14, Clear Channel aired a two-week public service announcement (PSA) campaign across its more than 60 Urban radio stations, featuring spots voiced by 14-time Grammy Award winning artist Alicia Keys. Listeners will learn the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, which is known to improve health, extend life and help to prevent the spread of the disease.
"Media plays a powerful role in helping to inform and confront the stigma that still surrounds HIV/AIDS," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of the Health Communication and Media Partnerships program at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "We are so grateful for the longstanding partnership with Clear Channel on Greater Than AIDS which is reaching so many with life-saving information that will help us realize an AIDS-free future."
As a founding media partner of Greater Than AIDS, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has made a substantial commitment to help bring attention to HIV/AIDS by utilizing its wide range of multi-media assets. Earlier this year, Clear Channel was the exclusive radio partner for a 30-minute on-air program featuring Keys in conversation with five inspiring women living with HIV in the U.S. The program was part of the Greater Than AIDS "Empowered" campaign, which continues to educate women in the U.S. about HIV/AIDS.
Clear Channel Outdoor, the leading innovator in out-of-home advertising, has placed hundreds of digital billboards to promote the "Empowered" campaign and to support additional Greater Than AIDS messages.
"National HIV Testing Day is an exciting opportunity to educate Clear Channel listeners nationwide about the importance of routine HIV testing," said Jessica King, Clear Channel’s Director of Community Engagement. "Clear Channel’s longstanding commitment to Greater Than AIDS will continue to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, empower listeners to know their status with the goal of helping to stop the spread of HIV."
In the Lone Star state, Walgreens has partnered with Greater Than AIDS to provide free HIV testing. Four Walgreens locations in Dallas will be offering free HIV testing June 26-28 in honor of National HIV Testing Day. Despite progress and advancements in HIV care and testing, one in six Americans living with HIV is unaware of his or her status, which is why Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS are collaborating to bring free testing to Dallas and other cities across America.
"National HIV Testing Day offers an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of knowing your HIV status at a time when one in six Americans does not know they are HIV positive," said Markeisha Marshall, a spokesperson for Walgreens. "Walgreens goal is to be a part of the solution to end AIDS -- this begins with helping people become aware of their status. For the fourth consecutive year, Walgreens, Greater Than AIDS and local health departments and community organizations are working together to bring free HIV testing to communities all across America.
Community pharmacists at Walgreens HIV-specialized pharmacies are specially trained to provide frequent and continual support to meet the unique needs of HIV-positive patients. They are trained to empower patients to better manage themselves by taking their HIV medication as prescribed, as well as eating healthy, exercising and understanding and coping with barriers to care.
In the District, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF), has partnered with WHUR 96.3 FM radio and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) for the sixth annual National HIV Testing Day, a yearly campaign to encourage and educate African Americans about the importance of getting tested for HIV and knowing their status.
The event will feature free confidential HIV testing, health information, music, entertainment and giveaways. It will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 27 at the Dorothy I. Height Building, 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004.