Department of Health Encourages HIV Testing as Part of National HIV Testing Day
Organizations around the state will be hosting HIV testing and education events with COVID safety protocols in place to recognize June 27 as National HIV Testing Day.
“Just as we must all remain vigilant in containing the spread of COVID-19 in our state, we must continue to take the necessary steps to reduce the burden of HIV in our communities,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “That begins with getting tested.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV testing has decreased substantially across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 38,000 people are living with HIV in New Jersey. From 2008 to 2018, there has been a 26 percent decline in the number of new HIV diagnoses due to highly effective treatments.
In 2018, the Murphy Administration pledged to end the HIV epidemic in the state by 2025.
In addition to New Jersey’s ongoing statewide efforts to end the HIV epidemic, Essex and Hudson counties are included in the federal initiative to end the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years – which focuses on 57 geographic areas where HIV transmission occurs most frequently.
The CDC recommends individuals between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and those at higher risk should be tested at least once a year.
The Department continues to work with partners to promote testing and link individuals with treatment and HIV medications that are effective in preventing transmission of the virus.
Nearly 65,000 free, confidential rapid HIV tests were administered in New Jersey last year at more than 140 locations.
This testing program delivers test results in about 20 minutes, and people can be linked to a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Counselor if HIV negative or HIV Clinic if HIV positive.
Strategies for preventing or reducing the risk of HIV infection include:
Seeking HIV PrEP, if you are HIV negative but at high risk for HIV. Call the NJ AIDS/STD Hotline at 800-624-2377 to find a counselor nearest you.
Adhering to HIV treatment regimens, if you are a person living with HIV/AIDS
Using condoms consistently and correctly
Avoiding sharing needles to inject fluids and practice harm reduction. Harm reduction services are available at any of the seven Harm Reduction Centers in NJ
Refraining from sharing needles for body piercing or tattoos.
For more information about New Jersey HIV services, click HERE.