New York, NY — In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and one in eight doesn't know he or she is infected. As part of National HIV Testing Day (Saturday, June 27), Planned Parenthood Federation of America is urging men, women, and young people to get tested for HIV by reminding them of the importance of knowing your risks and your status.

On average, people with HIV don’t develop symptoms for 10 years so you can’t know by looking if you or someone else has HIV. Knowing your HIV status is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and prevent future health problems — and the only way you can know for sure is to get tested,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Rates of HIV remain a major concern in this country, particularly among young people and in specific communities. In the U.S., men who have sex with men, African Americans, and Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV. STDs are also particularly endemic in the southern states of the U.S., where both adults and adolescents are disproportionately affected by HIV.

Access to quality health care, resources, and information is a fundamental right for all people to reach their fullest potential,” continued Dr. Cullins. “Our health shouldn’t depend on who we are or where we live. Rather than a country divided by health disparities, Planned Parenthood is working to achieve health equity for all.  We are one of the nation’s leading HIV testing providers. We’re proud to provide affordable, convenient HIV testing and sexual health information for women, men, and young people in health centers across the country throughout the year. Our doors are open to everyone. We want everyone to get the preventive care they need, and we’re here for any questions you might have.”

HIV/AIDS education and prevention are core parts of Planned Parenthood’s health services and education efforts. Every year, Planned Parenthood health centers provide 700,000 HIV tests, as well as education and outreach in schools and communities to 1.5 million people — sex education, peer education, parent-teen workshops, and support groups for LGBTQ youth, which include education about HIV prevention.

Getting tested for HIV is simply a basic part of taking care of your health and your body — and it’s easier than ever before:

  • Getting tested for HIV is quick, simple, and painless. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes from just a swab inside the mouth. 
  • Not all medical checkups include routine HIV testing — so unless you ask about getting tested, you shouldn’t assume you have been.
  • Some conversations may seem hard to have, but open communication with your provider or partner is essential to staying healthy and stopping the spread of HIV. You can take care of yourself and your partner by getting tested before you start having sex.

“Early treatment can help prevent serious health problems down the line. Once you know your status, there’s a lot you can do to protect your health, including practicing safer sex,” Dr. Cullins added. “The sooner you know it, the sooner you can get any treatment and information you might need, depending on the results. Remember, HIV can be managed and HIV-positive individuals can live longer, healthier lives if they get into care and stick with treatment.”

June is Pride Month, and Planned Parenthood is proud to provide health services and information to the LGBTQ community. June is also Men’s Health Month, when men are encouraged to make their health a priority. You can rely on Planned Parenthood for men’s health services including STD testing, treatment, and sex education and information to help you take charge of your sexual health, and you don’t have to be embarrassed about asking questions. 

Planned Parenthood believes that everyone deserves access to affordable, quality health care, and our doors are open to everyone. Planned Parenthood offers online tools that can help you take charge of your health: take The Check, a short quiz to help you figure out if you should get tested for HIV and other STDs, and visit plannedparenthood.org to find a Planned Parenthood health center near you and learn more information about HIV.

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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 approximately 700 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.

Source

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Published

June 26, 2015