LEONARDTOWN, MD – With an estimated one in seven individuals with HIV in the United States remaining undiagnosed, National HIV Testing Day on June 27 emphasizes the critical significance of HIV testing. Determining one’s HIV status is the only way to know for sure whether they have contracted the virus. By getting tested, individuals can safeguard their health and prevent the transmission of HIV to their partners. It is worth noting that most people who receive timely treatment for HIV can effectively control the virus within six months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly recommend that individuals between the ages of 13 and 64 undergo HIV testing at least once as part of their routine healthcare. Furthermore, people with specific risk factors are advised to get tested more frequently. HIV testing provides crucial information that can ensure personal well-being and protect others. Moreover, these tests are fast, free, and guarantee confidentiality.
In line with this nationwide initiative, the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) has organized an HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing event, open to community members, at various dates and locations. No appointments are necessary; some test results will be available within 20 minutes.
The SMCHD Leonardtown Main Office will host the event on Monday, June 26, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and again on Thursday, June 29, 2023, during the same hours. Additionally, the St. Mary’s County Health Hub will provide testing services from Monday to Thursday, June 26-29, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer, highlighted the importance of HIV and STI testing, stating, “Getting tested for HIV and sexually transmitted infections is a simple action to help you protect your own health and that of others. People who test positive can rapidly start treatment, and everyone can learn about preventing future infection.”
For more information about the HIV and STI testing event, individuals can contact the SMCHD Health Clinic at 301-475-4330 or the Harm Reduction Program office at 301-862-1680. Additional details are also available on the SMCHD’s official website at smchd.org.
National HIV Testing Day is a crucial reminder for individuals to prioritize their health and get tested. By knowing their HIV status, individuals can take proactive steps to manage their health, access necessary treatment, and contribute to preventing new infections.