NJ Recognizes June 27 As National HIV Testing Day

STATE — New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd recognized Thursday, June 27, as National HIV Testing Day by highlighting the events and services available throughout the state for individuals to get tested for HIV.

“There are very effective treatments available to people with HIV,” said O’Dowd. “I encourage people to get tested and know their status. With early detection, we can manage HIV, improve quality of life and, just as important, help stop the spread of the illness.”

Rapid HIV testing requires less than a single drop of blood from a fingertip. Test results are available in 20 to 40 minutes. For rapid HIV testing information, call 1-866-HIV-CHEC or visit the DOH website at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/aids/rapidtesting/location.shtml.

Local health departments, hospitals and community-based organizations throughout New Jersey will be hosting events featuring free HIV testing as part of National HIV Testing Day. A list of events is available on the Department’s website at http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/aids/events.aspx.

More than 36,600 people are living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all health care providers offer HIV testing to patients between the ages of 13 and 64 as part of routine medical care.

More than $11 million in state and federal funding this year supports 140 rapid HIV testing sites in each of the state’s 21 counties. Last year, more than 100,000 rapid HIV tests took place at these sites. Testing sites include community-based organizations, hospitals, health departments, federally qualified health centers and other health facilities that make getting tested easy and convenient.

Another $1 million in federal funds supports the Department’s new HIV Prevention Patient Navigator Program that helps people who test positive for HIV get into care and treatment programs. There are eight patient navigator sites in New Jersey located at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and St. Michael’s Medical Center, both in Newark; Jersey City Medical Center; Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City; Cooper Health System in Camden; St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson; and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth.

“We have been very effective in fighting HIV-especially in reducing the number of infants born with HIV. We have reduced the number of infants born with HIV from 16% of births to mothers with HIV in 1999 to just 2% last year,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “However, 87% of children living with HIV/AIDS are minorities and we must spread the word on the need for more HIV testing in minority communities across the state.”

For more information on HIV/AIDS in New Jersey visit: http://www.state.nj.us/health/aids/index.shtml

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