On Tuesday, December 1st, 2016, in support of World AIDS Day, the Harford County Health Department will offer free walk-in confidential or anonymous HIV testing at 1 N. Main Street, Bel Air, MD 21014 from 9:00AM to 1:00PM.
World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988 and on the same date every year. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (or HIV) means something very different today than it did several decades ago. Basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. retired from the NBA 25 years ago after being diagnosed as HIV positive. Recently, on the anniversary of his diagnosis, the sports icon remembered how that day not only affected the rest of his life, but how it also sparked an important dialogue.
The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1,218,400 persons in America aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection. Over the past ten years, the number of people living with HIV has increased, while the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. However, in the United States, about 1 in 8 people who has HIV doesn’t know it. Because someone can have HIV and still feel healthy, the only way to know for sure whether or not you have HIV is to get tested.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, approximately 70 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV and more than 35 million people have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. World AIDS Day reinforces the importance of better understanding about the condition, the passage of laws to protect people living with HIV and the many scientific advances made in HIV treatment.
Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly states, “Breakthroughs in education, outreach, and medical management are saving lives. The impact of HIV on society crosses the boundaries of sexual orientation, gender, age, and ethnicity. World AIDS Day serves as a reminder to everyone of the importance of taking action to curb the HIV epidemic through testing, prevention, and treatment.”
Visit AIDS.gov for information from the Federal government about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment, and research. Also visit www.harfordcountyhealth.com or call 410-638-3060 for more information about Harford County Health Department services and resources.