“AIDS is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time,” replied Grijalva. “With over 1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 38 million people worldwide, this is a problem we cannot ignore. Targeted, comprehensive prevention programs are absolutely necessary, and access to services must be uniform across income levels and racial lines. On this day, we as a community stand united to stop the epidemic, starting with education, prevention, and testing.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States today is as high as 1.2 million and more than 25 percent of those do not know they are infected. Without knowledge of their HIV+ status, each of these individuals could potentially spread the disease to countless others.
Increasing the availability of HIV tests, especially rapid tests kits, and encouraging individuals to seek out voluntary counseling and testing can make a significant difference in reducing the spread of HIV. Unfortunately barriers to testing still exist, most significantly, the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and the anxiety involving the test itself.
In order to combat both these barriers, the National Association of People With AIDS, in conjunction with the CDC, produces National HIV Testing Day, an annual campaign that culminates on June 27th. This year’s theme is “Take the test, take control,” emphasizing the fact that just getting tested can produce behavioral change regardless of the diagnosis.
Throughout Congressional District 7, there are several places to get tested for AIDS/HIV:
Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, 375 South Euclid Avenue, Tucson.
Planned Parenthood Southwest Valley Health Center, 127 E. Western Avenue, Avondale
Mariposa Community Health Center, 1857 N. Mastick Way, Nogales.
Yuma Health Center, 1455 W. 16th St, Yuma.
For more information on National HIV Testing Day, or to find a testing site in your district, visit the CDC’s website at: http://hivtest.org/.