Today, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognizes National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). This day is an opportunity to encourage and emphasize the importance of HIV testing, which is essential to reducing HIV infections, improving health outcomes for people with HIV, and helping to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.
This year’s theme is “HIV Testing is Self-Care.” This acknowledges that HIV testing is an act of self-care because when people know their HIV status, they can access the HIV prevention services, care, and medications they need to live a long, healthy life.
HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) and Health Center Program continue to have leading roles in helping to diagnose, treat, prevent, and respond as part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities, public health departments, and health care facilities, RWHAP and Health Center Program recipients remain committed to conducting HIV testing across the country, and connecting people to HIV care and treatment if they test positive or to HIV prevention services, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), if they are negative.
Health centers serve as a key point of entry for HIV prevention services and the diagnosis of people with HIV. In 2020, health centers provided nearly 2.5 million HIV tests to more than 2 million patients, and treated 1 in 6 patients diagnosed with HIV nationally.
RWHAP recipients link people with HIV, including those who are either newly diagnosed or diagnosed but not currently in care, to HIV care and treatment. Our recipients also provide essential support services, such as housing assistance, transportation, and meal delivery so people with HIV stay in care and on their medication.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for people to access places where HIV testing is typically provided, there are more HIV testing options available today than ever before. This includes self-tests where people can learn their HIV status in their own time and space. Many local health departments and community-based organizations are providing HIV self-testing kits for free or at a reduced cost.
This National HIV Testing Day, let’s raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing in ending the HIV epidemic, and the variety of testing options available—including through the RWHAP and Health Center Program. Together, we can ensure that from now on, people view HIV testing as self-care and a way to stay healthy.
Participate in HRSA’s HAB You Heard Webinar on June 29, 2022, from 2:00-3:00 PM ET.
Visit the CDC’s National HIV Testing Day News & Events page to learn about HIV testing day events and resources.