This blog is written by Loree Bishop, H.I.V. Prevention Coordinator for Piedmont Care.
There are multiple HIV/AIDS awareness days throughout the year which aim to promote HIV testing and increase awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on specific populations. National HIV Testing Day (June 27th) and World AIDS Day (December 1st) are arguably the most well-known awareness days, however there are many lesser known days throughout the year that are of equal importance, two of which are coming up in September.
Please mark your calendars for National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27th. According to hiv.gov, “Gay and bisexual men have the largest number of new diagnoses in the United States” (www.hiv.gov). HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionately affect this population, especially men of color that fall within these categories.
Also, National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day is on September 18th. According to hiv.gov, “Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to be diagnosed with HIV infection late in the course of their disease, meaning they get a late start to treatment and possibly more damage to their immune system. This can lead to poorer prognoses and shorter survival after an HIV diagnosis” (www.hiv.gov). Familiarize yourself with your risk factors and if you’ve never been tested before, or you don’t know the last time you were tested, now is the time.
Although most testing days focus on a specific group, it is important to remember the importance of HIV prevention and testing should be ongoing because the virus does not discriminate against age, race, sexual orientation, or gender. In the U.S., 15% of people infected with HIV do not know they have the virus (www.kff.org, December 2017).
Piedmont Care offers FREE HIV testing every day at their office so that people may know their status and take charge of their health. You may call 864-582-7773 or 866-454-7773 to schedule free and confidential testing. Free condoms and educational materials are also available with no appointment required.
Please visit our website at www.piedmontcare.org to learn more about our work within the community and follow Piedmont Care on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with all HIV/AIDS Awareness days and to find out what you can do to support our mission and prevention efforts.