Take the Test, Take Control

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City of Alexandria Marks National HIV Testing Day

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2011

News Highlights:

• Monday, June 27  is National HIV Testing Day
• The purpose of National HIV Testing Day is to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS  and encourage people to get tested and to learn their HIV status
• In Alexandria, 1,701 people are living with HIV and AIDS; 25%  of those infected with HIV in the City are unaware of their status
• The Alexandria Health Department offers free and confidential testing

The medical condition known as HIV and AIDS was first detected in the United States 30 years ago. The first case of AIDS was reported in Alexandria, VA in 1982 and the HIV/AIDS epidemic is now entering its fourth decade. Each year on June 27, millions of Americans at risk for HIV are asked to Take the Test, Take Control by learning their HIV status.

Organizations, 10,000 strong across the U.S., including the Alexandria Health Department, participate in National HIV Testing Day by providing free HIV testing and counseling.

This is the seventh year of the Mayors Campaign Against HIV. Mayor Euille and the City of Alexandria support this campaign. The value and importance of National HIV Testing Day is to raise awareness of one of our nation’s most deadly, yet most preventable diseases; bring those who are positive but who do not know their status into care; and help not only to stem the spread of HIV, but also to improve life expectancy and health outcomes for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

Too many Americans find out they are HIV positive when they are ill and have a dangerously low t-cell count.  It is also important for people who are HIV negative to know their status and to ask their partners to do the same.

In Alexandria, 1701 people are living with HIV and AIDS. Twenty five percent of all those infected with HIV in the City do not know their status and can unknowingly pass HIV onto others.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that all individuals ages 13 to 64 get an HIV test. The Alexandria Health Department offers FREE and confidential testing on Wednesday afternoons from 1 p.m.–3 p.m. and Thursday evenings 5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Debby Dimon, Alexandria Health Department, at 703.746.4936 or debby.dimon@vdh.virginia.gov.