The Broward County Health Department will celebrate Monday, June 27, as National HIV Testing Day – a time set aside to encourage people to assess their risk for HIV infection and know their HIV status.
The theme is “Take the Test, Take Control.”
The department said it is offering free, confidential HIV counseling and testing throughout the county. Along with its community partners, the agency is doing the tests through Thursday, June 30 at several locations.
“We encourage everyone to get involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Dr. Paula Thaqi, the department’s director. “Everyone should know their HIV/AIDS status and be educated on prevention methods and available services.”
The department cites statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 250,000 of the one million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are unaware of their HIV status. The CDC recommends that everybody aged 13 to 64 be tested at least once as a part of their routine health care.
Studies have shown that once people know their and their partners’ HIV status, they will take steps to protect their health and that of their partners, the department said.
Further, if you learn your status and find out that you have HIV infection, you can seek medical care that can reduce the impact of HIV on your health, substantially increase your lifespan, and improve your quality of life, the department said.
Traditional testing – an oral swab or a blood draw test – can be done and the results will be available in about two weeks. Also, a rapid HIV test may be used, requiring a finger-stick blood specimen, with results available in 20 to 40 minutes.
For more information on free testing sites, call the Broward County Health Department’s HIV/AIDS Program Office at 954-467-4700 ext. 5660 or
visit, browardchd.org or wemakethechange.com.