Thursday marks National HIV Testing Day, the annual event that encourages people to get tested or treated for the human immunodeficiency virus.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year’s theme is “Doing It My Way,” which focuses on encouraging folks to get tested in the way that best suits them. This could be at your physician’s office, a testing site or clinic or even via an at-home testing kit.
An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV and, incredibly, one in seven of them don’t even know it, says the CDC, which explains that HIV weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. There is no effective cure, but the virus can be controlled with proper medical care.
In Pennsylvania, the latest statistics out of the Department of Health, hold that about 36,000 state residents are living with HIV. In 2017, the state saw less than 1,000 new cases of HIV, the health department said.
In the Philadelphia area, nearly 50 places offer free or low-cost testing. Find the one closest to you here using the CDC’s Get Tested map.
In Allentown, the Morning Call reports there will be “free and confidential” HIV testing at 245 N. 6th St., on June 27 between 9 and 11 a.m.
In York, HIV testing and counseling will be available at three health care locations on Thursday, according to city officials.
Current CDC guidelines hold that everyone between the ages 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once, while those at high risk should get tested at least once a year. Some individuals — like sexually active gay and bi-sexual men — might benefit from multiple testings throughout the year.