It’s that time of year when millions of Americans start looking back at the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year and setting New Year’s resolutions.
While many New Year’s resolutions, such as losing weight, saving money, managing stress, are popular year after year, this upcoming year encourage your readers to include one additional resolution on that list: Resolve to get tested for HIV. This is especially important for youth and young adults. In 2009, young people (those aged 13-29) accounted for 29% of all new HIV infections.
Many Americans do not realize that HIV is still a major epidemic in our country. More than a million people are living with HIV in the United States, and almost 1 in 6 are unaware of their infection and at risk of passing the virus on to others without knowing it. The only way to know if a person has HIV is to get an HIV test, and it’s easy, free, fast, and confidential! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Testing once a year (or more) is recommended for people at higher risk of HIV infection, such as those who are gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), injection drug users, or people with multiple sex partners.
- Finding out early can help you live a longer, healthier life.
- If you know, you can look out for yourself – and the people you love.
- It’s easy. It’s free, fast, and confidential.
We must re-double our efforts to assure that all people know about HIV, how to prevent transmission, their HIV status, and that people with HIV are linked to care, treatment, and prevention services. We can stop HIV Together—by getting the facts, getting tested, and getting involved.
HIV Testing Web and Social Media Accounts:
- Let’s Stop HIV Together on the Web
- Act Against AIDS Facebook page
- Let’s Stop HIV Together participant video stories
- “Get Tested” Web page
Sample Let’s Stop HIV Together stories:
- Greg Louganis, Olympic Diver (and four-time gold medalist), was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. Greg is often remembered for the shocking moment in 1988 (just after his HIV diagnosis) when he struck his head on the springboard.
- Kelly, a young heterosexual woman, was in what she thought was a committed relationship at the time of her HIV diagnosis in 2010, and found out several months after they both tested positive for HIV that her boyfriend had been sexually active with men during their relationship.
- Theresa, a mother and grandmother was getting back into the dating scene after getting divorced when she was diagnosed with HIV. At her age, she thought HIV was something that she didn’t need to worry about.
- Masonia, a young single mother, found out she was pregnant and tested positive for HIV in the same day.