Today is National HIV Testing Day
Published on June 27 2013 2:14 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp
Today is National HIV Testing Day, and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is encouraging everyone to utilize resources available statewide to get tested and learn their HIV status.
“Knowing your HIV status puts you in greater control. It’s time to step up and get tested,” Dr. Hasbrouck said. “In Illinois we have partnered with many organizations to keep HIV testing free, confidential and accessible. I encourage everyone to get tested today.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 in 5 of the 1.3 million Americans living with HIV are unaware that they are infected. Illinois ranks 7th nationwide in the diagnosis of HIV infections, and 5th nationwide in the estimated number of AIDS cases. There were more than 1,700 new cases of HIV and AIDS diagnosed in 2010 and almost 55,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Illinois.
The populations in Illinois with the highest number of new infections include gay and bisexual men (men who have sex with men or MSM) of all races and ethnicities, “high risk” heterosexuals and injection drug users. African Americans in Illinois are disproportionately impacted by HIV. African Americans represent about 14 percent of the population in Illinois yet accounted for half of all new HIV infections in 2010. Teens and young adults in Illinois ages 13-29 have the highest rate of new HIV infections in Illinois, at 37 percent.
Hasbrouck said IDPH is committed to providing access to resources to reduce these statistics. To find the closest free, confidential HIV testing location, call the department’s HIV/AIDS and STD Hotline at 1-800-AID-AIDS (1-800-243-2437) or use IDPH’s innovative Text2Survive mobile service also by texting IL plus ZIP code to 36363. This service is also available in Spanish by texting “CENTRO” plus ZIP code to 36363. Please visit idph.riproad.com for a full list of events and testing locations statewide, or use IDPH’s Text2Survive mobile calendar by texting “event” to 36363 for free events statewide.
IDPH’s Center for Minority Health Services also launched BASUAH (Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS) as a comprehensive HIV/AIDS awareness, outreach and education program specifically targeted to the African American community. The program has administered more than 6,000 HIV tests and trained more than 5,000 peer educators known as “BASUAH Ambassadors” since 2005. The Center for Minority Health Services also funds the Wellness on Wheels mobile health vans which provide HIV and STD testing, and health screenings statewide. To schedule a Wellness on Wheels mobile health van visit, call 1-866-792-4325.
National HIV Testing Day was created by the National Association of People with AIDS, and has been observed every June 27th since 1995 to raise awareness about HIV prevention and education.
To learn more about BASUAH, visit www.basuah.org, and to learn more about IDPH’s resources and HIV/AIDS initiatives, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us/aids/default.htm.