June 27 is National HIV Testing day

2014-06-14T00:30:00Z June 27 is National HIV Testing dayBy CINDY UKEN cuken@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV, and more than 200,000 don’t know it, according to estimates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of those are living in Montana.

By the close of 2013, there were 151 HIV clients registered with Yellowstone AIDS Project, a nonprofit organization committed to increasing HIV/AIDS awareness and providing prevention and client services in Montana. More than half of the clients are between the ages of 25 and 44. About 75 percent of the clients have been diagnosed with AIDS.

Seven in 10 Americans do not know their HIV status. One in four HIV positive persons are unaware that they are infected. The numbers punctuate the ongoing need for testing.

June 27 has been set aside as National HIV Testing day, an annual observance to promote HIV testing. This year’s theme urges people to “Take the Test and Take Control.”

“It is time to face this transmissible disease with education, regular health screenings, and awareness,” said Clint Fausett, YAP’s prevention coordinator. “Here at the Yellowstone AIDS Project we are committed to eliminating the stigma that surrounds HIV. We strive to give the best HIV education possible while offering free and private testing sessions that take only 20 minutes to complete.”

Knowing your status has never been easier, or more comfortable and convenient, he said. Rapid Testing is a technology that allows an individual to obtain an HIV test result in 20 minutes. One clear benefit of Rapid HIV Testing is the convenience of getting immediate results without the one- to two-week processing delay seen in traditional HIV testing methods.

Testing is confidential and your status is protected by law.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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