STATE — June 27 marks National HIV Testing day and all around New Jersey local health departments, hospitals and community-based organizations will be hosting a range of community events featuring free HIV testing.
“Since the discovery of HIV 30 years ago, great strides have been made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. However, every day, people are still getting infected,” said Acting Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Tina Tan. “One of the best ways to take control of your health is getting an HIV test to learn your status.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all health care providers offer HIV testing to their 13- to 64-year-old patients as part of routine medical care.
New Jersey residents are encouraged to visit testing facilities and attend events to increase HIV/AIDS awareness. On Monday, June 27, the Department’s Assistant Commissioner of HIV, STD and TB Services, Connie Calisti-Meyers will join the New Jersey Human Development Corporation, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network for a day of education and testing at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton at 11 a.m.
Rapid HIV testing is also available at more than 170 locations throughout the state, including local health departments, hospital clinics and community health centers. Results are available in less than 30 minutes, allowing clients to learn their status, and if positive, to get care or be referred to care the same day.
New Jersey ranks fifth among states with approximately 75,000 HIV/AIDS cases since the start of the epidemic. At the end of 2010, New Jersey had a reported 35,688 residents currently living with HIV or AIDS. June 5, 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of the first reports on the condition that would eventually become known as HIV.
HIV/AIDS has been especially devastating to New Jersey’s minority populations. Only 14 percent of New Jersey’s population is African-American, yet African-Americans make up 54 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey. Latinos make up 15 percent of the New Jersey population, but comprise 23 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS. Overall, minorities account for 78 percent of all persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Nationally, New Jersey has one of the highest percentages of women with the disease. Injection drug use and sexual contact remain the major sources of exposure to HIV, but the percentage of cases linked to sexual contact is rising while the proportion of cases traced to injection drug use is declining.
New Jersey events that are planned to mark National HIV Testing Day include:
- Monday June 27, 10am to 2pm, the Spanish Community Center will offer free testing at 3900 Ventnor Ave., Atlantic City.
- Monday, June 27, 10am to 3pm North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) will hold a free community cookout in honor of National HIV Testing Day at 393 Central Ave. in Newark. The NJCRI event will have HIV and STD testing, as well as other health screenings.
- Monday, June 27, 11am to 3pm, free testing and education will be available at Trinity Cathedral, 801 West State Street, Trenton, sponsored by New Jersey Human Development Corporation, Henry J. Austin Health Center and the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network.
- Monday, June 27, Camden Area Health Education Center and Camden AIDS Advisory Council will sponsor HIV testing and health screening from 2:30pm to 7pm at Millenium Skate World, 1900 Carmen Street, Camden.
A full listing of events can be found online at the Department’s website. Additionally, testing is available year round at facilities across the state, for rapid testing locations, please visit: http://nj.gov/health/aids/rapidtesting/location.shtml or call: 1-800-624-2377.
For more information on HIV/AIDS, visit the Division of HIV, STD and TB Services website at www.nj.gov/health/aids. You can reach the HIV/AIDS hotline at 1-800-624-2377.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!