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New York, NY  — Today is National HIV Testing Day and Planned Parenthood is urging people to get tested for HIV and know their status. In the United States, an estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV, and one in seven don't know they have it. Stigma, misinformation, and fear still prevent people from accessing the health care and health education they need in order to protect themselves and others.

Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading HIV testing providers, and we are committed to HIV education and prevention,” said Sonya Norsworthy, interim vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “HIV prevention is a vital part of our health services because we believe that everyone should have access to testing, preventive methods, and treatment. HIV education, combined with prevention, empowers people to know their status and stay healthy and safe.

While we’ve made progress, HIV continues to be an urgent public health crisis. Communities with barriers to education and health care due to historical and structural oppression and marginalization, including gay and bisexual men (particularly Black and Latino gay and bisexual men), Black women who have sex with men, young people, and transgender people, are disproportionately affected by HIV. In the U.S., gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) make up an estimated 2 percent of the population, but nearly 70 percent of people living with HIV in the United States.

In order to dismantle stigma, it’s important for people to know that getting tested is part of a happy, empowered sex life. Rapid HIV tests can also provide results 20 twenty minutes from just a swab inside the mouth. Like many STDs, HIV is treatable and can easily be managed the sooner one knows their status. Many people who are living with HIV and on effective treatment pose no transmission risk.

Planned Parenthood is part of a community of international health experts supporting the Prevention Access Campaign’s ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable’ (U=U) consensus statement, which confirms that when a person living with HIV is on effective treatment, suppressing the virus to "undetectable" levels for at least six months, the risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners is effectively zero.

The sooner you know your status, the better you can protect your health and the health of your partner(s). HIV can be managed and HIV-positive individuals can live long, healthy lives if they know their status, get care, and stick with treatment,” said Dr. Gillian Dean, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In addition to HIV testing and education, many Planned Parenthood health centers also offer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sex for people who may be at high risk of transmission.

Planned Parenthood is here to help you stay healthy and our doors are open to everyone, regardless of gender, race, age, religion, disability, nationality, or ethnicity. We’re one of the nation’s leading HIV testing providers, and we know that HIV prevention is a core part of sexual health and education. Each year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide more than 4.4 million STI tests and treatment, including more than 705,000 HIV tests. We also offer online tools including information on HIV, a video series to help you have conversations about STDs, and The Check, a short quiz to help you figure out if you should get tested for HIV and other STDs.

 

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.