(New Haven, Conn.) — June 27, 2014 is National HIV Testing Day and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) encourages men, women and young people to get tested for HIV. In the United States, more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV and almost one in six do not know they are infected.
National HIV Testing Day is a reminder that getting tested for HIV is an important step in stopping the spread of HIV and taking care of ourselves. The only way to know is to get tested.
Rates of HIV remain a major concern in this country, particularly among young people and in specific communities. In the U.S., African Americans, Latinos and men who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by HIV.
“There are more than 16,000 people living with HIV in Connecticut. African Americans and Latinos make up 25 percent of the population, yet account for nearly 63 percent of all HIV diagnoses,” said Judy Tabar President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “Planned Parenthood of Southern New England provides affordable, confidential and convenient HIV testing and sexual health information for women, men and young people in Connecticut. Our health centers are open to everyone and we are here to answer any questions or concerns you might have.”
PPSNE has 17 health centers in Connecticut that offer many preventive services including HIV and STD testing. HIV can be managed and HIV-positive individuals can live full lives if they know their status and take action to stay as healthy as possible. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV.
Getting tested for HIV is a basic part of taking care of your health and your body — and it is easier than ever before. For HIV, remember the following:
- HIV tests are 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 to be tested, you cannot assume you have been.
- Some conversations may seem hard to have, but open communication with your 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.
“Once you know your status, there is a lot you can do to protect your health, including practicing safer sex,” said Tabar. “The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get any treatment and information you might need. Early treatment can help prevent serious health problems down the line.”
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England works every day to provide high-quality preventive health care. Last year, PPSNE provided more than 13,750 life-saving cancer screenings and preventative services; nearly 25,000 women’s health services and more than 37,000 STD/STI and HIV screening visits. PPSNE health centers can also help those, who need additional care, connect with trusted, quality resources.
To learn more about PPSNE health care services, call (203) 865-5158 or visit ppsne.org.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) is one of the region’s largest providers of family planning and reproductive health care services. Since 1923, PPSNE has evolved into an organization with 18 health centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island, delivering care to over 70,000 patients annually, and 90 percent of the services provided are preventive.