[San Diego, CA] — In recognition of National HIV Testing Day, June 27, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest encourages men, women and young people to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), in an ongoing effort to promote safe and healthy living through education and testing.
“With nearly 50,000 new HIV infections each year, National HIV Testing Day reminds us that testing for HIV and STDs is an important step in stopping the spread of HIV while promoting the value of self-care and healthy living,” said Angela Reed-Smith, Senior Vice President of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest (PPPSW). “The reality is that more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, yet one in five is unaware of his or her status.”
HIV infection rates are especially high among young people, African Americans, and Latinos. African Americans remain disproportionally affected by HIV. In 2010, blacks accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections. African-American women accounted for 64 percent of all new infections in women that same year.In comparison, 18 percent of new infections were among white women and 15 percent were among Hispanic/Latina women. In 2010, the rate of new HIV infections among black women was 20 times that of white women.
In 2012, PPPSW provided 82,759 HIV tests for men, women and young people. PPPSW has 19 health centers in San Diego and Riverside Counties that offer many preventive services including HIV and STD testing. In 2011, Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide provided over 680,000 HIV tests for men and women.
Under the Affordable Care Act, more men, women, and young people have access to HIV testing at no cost.People who already have insurance have begun to see this benefit already. Eligible, uninsured people can begin enrolling in health coverage plans under the Affordable Care Act starting October 1 for coverage that begins January 1, 2014. More information is available at plannedparenthood.org
“Practicing safe sex with proper protection like condoms and regular testing are important steps to livinghealthier lifestyles,” said Reed-Smith. “We urge everyone to get tested. Getting tested is quick and easy, and it can ensure that you and your partners remain healthy.”
Planned Parenthood’s online tool The Check offers guidance and tips about HIV and other STDs, andhelps direct people to a local health center