National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign to encourage all people to know their HIV status. Too many people don’t know they have HIV. In the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV, and almost one in five don’t know they are infected.
While everyone should be tested, it is important to emphasize HIV testing among men. This population tends to lack a routine channel for obtaining sexual and reproductive health services. In fact, fewer than 20% of men received counseling or advice from a health care provider about birth control or STIs, including HIV. Here are some more figures from the Guttmacher Institute:
- HIV/AIDS prevalence among young adults aged 19–24 is relatively low, but it is estimated that 15–30% of all infections are acquired before age 25.
- In both 1995 and 2002, about 1/4 of sexually experienced 15–19 year-old males reported ever having had an HIV test.
- In 1999, 13% of men who received AIDS diagnoses were exposed to HIV solely through heterosexual activity, a proportion that continue to grow.
NHTD is the perfect time to either start getting tested or maintaining your routine. It is recommended that individuals receive an HIV test once a year. Find a testing center near you!
Further reading: HIV/AIDS 101 [It’s Your Sex Life] Find a health center [Planned Parenthood] Facts on Young Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health [Guttmacher Institute]