Knowing - National HIV Testing Day 2020

Content From: Harold J. Phillips, MRP, Director, Office of National AIDS Policy, The White House Published: June 24, 20203 min read

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In the 25 years since National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) was first observed on June 27th, we’ve made remarkable progress on HIV prevention, treatment, and research—but people who haven’t been tested will not know their status or how to benefit from prevention tools or HIV medications.

So the theme for this year’s observance—“Knowing”—is particularly important. It means:

I invite you to watch this messageExit Disclaimer from ADM Brett Giroir, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about these important aspects of Knowing.

The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested—and taking that test is a key step down the path toward ending the HIV epidemic in the United States.

That’s the path we are walking with the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative, which aims to achieve epidemic control in our nation within 10 years. How? By decreasing the number of new HIV transmissions by at least 90% by 2030. The first pillar of EHE is to diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible.

Harold Phillips
Credit: Keith Mumma/Kalamazoo College

CDC recommends that all Americans between the ages of 13-64 get an HIV test at least once—and people with specific risk factors be tested more often—but less than 40% of Americans have ever been tested for HIV. We must and will do better on finding ways to connect with the estimated 161,800 Americans currently living with HIV who don’t know their status.

No matter what method of testing people use, linkage to care is essential. You can find information about services near you by using HIV.gov’s HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator.

Note: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Primary Health Care (HRSA/BPHC) have recently issued guidance to grantees stating that purchase of in-home HIV test kits is an allowable cost and that self-testing is an appropriate methodology to ensure access to HIV testing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also published new information on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test.

On this 25th annual NHTD, we have much to celebrate:

  • EHE has given us a strong foundation to address and end the HIV epidemic in the United States—and HHS is firmly committed to ensuring EHE’s success, even as we simultaneously respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ready, Set, PrEP is expanding access to effective HIV-prevention tools and empowering people to take control of their health. If you qualify, you may also be able to get free PrEP through the Ready, Set, PrEP program.
  • And education on HIV testing options continues to increase, giving us new opportunities to reach those who don’t yet know their HIV status.

We invite you to join the ranks of those who do know. Take the test and work with us to end the HIV epidemic in the United States.

Use the hashtag #HIVTestingDay on your social media channels and join the conversation.