Recently, HUD employees in Washington, DC were able to seek rapid testing (via mouth swab) in the privacy of the HUD Health Unit to help them gain personal knowledge of their HIV status. In addition to the test, employees were given information linking them to programs that raise awareness to prevent HIV, change behavior as well as information to medical care and social services. Employees in HUD’s 80 field offices across the United States were encouraged to participate by using the National HIV and STD Testing Resources.
Thirty years have passed since AIDS cases were first reported in the United States and the epidemic is still growing. Today, the Centers for Disease Controlestimates that approximately 21 percent of the 1.3 million Americans living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status. The “Take the Test, Take Control” campaign is designed to raise awareness of voluntary HIV counseling and testing as the critical first step in taking control and responsibility over one’s health.
Jovette Gadson serves as Program Specialist at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.