On National HIV Testing Day, we recognize the great progress we have made in the fight against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), including our Nation’s efforts to spread awareness about the importance of getting tested. Early detection of HIV—using a simple and routine test—is instrumental in helping contain the advancement of the virus to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Today, medical advances are helping more than one million Americans affected by HIV live longer and healthier lives. Further, in June 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved generic medications that dramatically reduce the risk of infection in the first place.
Despite this progress, in 2016, nearly 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States. People between the ages of 20 and 29 received more than a third of those diagnoses. Even more troubling, 44 percent of people living with HIV between the ages of 13 and 24 were unaware that they were carrying the virus. National HIV Testing Day is an important reminder that those who are unaware they are carrying the disease are the most at risk for inadvertently infecting others and missing out on potentially life-saving treatments.
As we observe National HIV Testing Day, we celebrate the advancements we have made in medical science, and I encourage all Americans to invest in their health and be aware of their HIV status. Through greater awareness and education, we can all do our part to lead healthier and longer lives.