June 27 is National HIV Testing Day

"Take the Test, Take Control"

BALTIMORE, MD (June 26, 2013) – Tomorrow, June 27, 2013, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) will join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Kaiser Family Foundation and state and local partners to observe National HIV Testing Day. This year’s theme is "Take the Test, Take Control.”

According to the CDC, 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. As of December 31, 2011, 28,197 Marylanders were diagnosed and reported to be living with HIV/AIDS. African Americans, men who have sex with men, and injection drug users continue to be the groups most affected by HIV and AIDS in Maryland.

“HIV testing allows people to know their HIV status and receive treatment sooner,” said Dr. Joshua M Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “We encourage all Marylanders to get tested for HIV and empower themselves to take control.”

“Approximately 6,250 Marylanders who have HIV are undiagnosed and do not know they have HIV,” said Michelle Spencer, director of the Prevention and Health Promotion Administration at DHMH. “Marylanders are encouraged to take advantage of free HIV testing opportunities. Early treatment is essential for people who are HIV positive.”

DHMH and the Kaiser Family Foundation are using social media, radio announcements, public service announcements in 6 local movie theaters, 32 billboards, and the news media, to encourage residents to be tested for HIV.

To find an HIV testing location near you, contact your local health department or visit www.hivtest.org. Free HIV testing will also be offered on Thursday June 27, 2013 and Friday June 28, 2013, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday June 29, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two Walgreens locations in Maryland: 4020 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, and 9001 Woody Terrace, Clinton, Maryland 20735.  To learn more about Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens testing sites go to www.greaterthan.org/Walgreens.

For additional information about HIV prevention, testing, treatment and support services go to http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/infectious disease.aspx.