MONTGOMERY, WV (WVNS)– Each year, National HIV testing day is observed on June 27.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. At a free testing event on Saturday, June 27, 2020, health officials with the Fayette County Health Department like Anita Stewart, stressed testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and reducing the spread of the virus.
“I think we should all know our status,” Stewart said. “I think that if we are going to be advocating for our health and we are going to be advocating for preventative health that it is the responsible thing to do and it’s just like getting your blood pressure checked or your cholesterol checked or your blood sugar checked. It’s no different than that.”
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 65 get tested as a part of their routine health care appointments. Stewart said over the last 24 months they have seen an increase in HIV cases.
“We do know that is increased and has been related to IV Drug use which we know obviously is a problem in West Virginia so we are offering these services but again this is a preventative service offered and recommended for anyone between the ages of 13 and 65,” Stewart said.
Stewart said testing and treatment for HIV have improved over the years and allowing for those with HIV to live longer. She also said HIV Testing is offered free at all health departments in West Virginia.