Join health department, federal, and community partners across the U.S. in observing National HIV Testing Day on Monday, June 27. This year’s theme is “HIV Testing is Self-care” because knowing your status gives you powerful information to help stay healthy. Self-care has been a particularly important topic during the COVID-19 pandemic as the need for individual and community actions to promote physical and mental health remain critical. HIV testing is an act of self-care. Encouraging people to get tested and know their HIV status can help them stay healthy.
Prioritizing whole-person health can start with a simple HIV test. Almost 40% of the approximately 36,000 new HIV cases per year are transmitted by individuals who don’t know their status, which is one reason that CDC recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once, or more regularly for those at higher risk of exposure. Local health departments play an integral role in community HIV testing, with almost 2/3 of all local health departments in the U.S. offering affordable and accessible HIV and STI screening.
At many testing sites such as local health departments, HIV testing is an entryway to additional tools to promote health: Individuals who test positive can connect to treatment that helps people live healthy lives and prevent transmitting HIV, and those who test negative can access resources to remain negative, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.
It’s on all of us to make self-care easy and accessible. Local health departments can celebrate National HIV Testing Day by taking the following actions:
- Promote HIV testing on June 27 and beyond through community testing drives, outreach events, and social media posts
- Partner with local organizers to spread the word about National HIV Testing Day at summer events such as holiday celebrations and Pride festivals
- Share information about HIV testing and transmission with residents, community partners, and providers
- Offer self-testing for HIV and encourage providers in your area to conduct routine HIV testing
- Share the HIV Services Locator online and make sure your and your community partners’ services are registered
As COVID-19, STIs, monkeypox, and other illnesses are on the rise, it’s time to take the stigma out of self-care. Use CDC’s new digital toolkit to spark conversations about HIV testing, including self-testing. Health departments can access even more resources from the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign to promote HIV testing, prevention, and treatment for everyone. Join the national movement by using the hashtags #StopHIVTogether and #HIVTestingDay and tag @cdchiv on Facebook, @cdc_hiv on Twitter and @stophivtogether on Instagram.
To feature your health department’s National HIV Testing Day outreach event, social marketing strategies, or testing program on NACCHO’s blog, please email Julia Zigman at email@example.com.