National HIV Testing Day

Tuesday is National HIV Testing Day. It’s an annual campaign to encourage at-risk individuals to get tested.

Big Bend Cares sent out teams Tuesday morning across the area to provide free on site HIV testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 280,000 people nationwide are HIV positive but are unaware of their status.

Big Bend Cares says that's why it is so important to know your status so you can stay negative or seek treatment and counseling if you are positive, and what better day than Tuesday to learn your status?

The test is a simple one; patients wipe a swab in their gums, then drop it into a solution. Results are ready in 20 minutes. The National HIV testing campaign is in its eleventh year.

Big Bend Cares currently works with 420 HIV/AIDS patients in the Leon County area. South Florida has one of the nation’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS.

Right now the only way to get an HIV test is to ask for one. The CDC is recommending the test be offered as part of routine physicals, so when you get a physical the doctor will ask if you want to take an HIV test.

The new guidelines for testing are expected to out this summer.