On National HIV Testing Day, GMHC Reminds Everyone that HIV Testing Is Paramount in our Fight to End the HIV Epidemic
GMHC's David Geffen Testing Center is open 6 days a week for free and confidential HIV and STI testing
June 27, 2016 - New York, New York: Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) joins everyone in America to recognize National HIV Testing Day, a day to get the facts and get tested. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people living with HIV.
STATEMENT FROM GMHC CEO KELSEY LOUIE:
Still today, the HIV testing is one of our most powerful tools to end the HIV epidemic. In the early days of the disease when fear and hysteria led the day, the HIV test became a tool that empowered everyone. There are nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV in America and one in eight people do not know they have it. The HIV test has improved dramatically over the years, and I am proud to say that GMHC was one of the first organizations in New York State to adopt fourth generation HIV testing. These tests can detect the HIV-1/2 antibodies and the HIV-1 p24 antigen, which can appear 12-26 days after infection.
Every year, GMHC tests over 3,000 people for HIV and other STIs at our testing center.
Earlier this year, GMHC expanded our testing hours with funding provided by The Calamus Foundation which enabled us to increase the number of tests provided by 66 percent. So far in 2016, we conducted 1,278 STI tests for infections like Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
Long before it was recommended by the World Health Organization, GMHC adopted the practice of linking people to care to begin treatment immediately following a diagnosis, which has led to incredible outcomes. Of the people who test positive at GMHC's testing center, 90 percent are virally suppressed, which is more than double New York City's average and more than three times the national average of viral suppression.
Yesterday in New York City, we marched down Fifth Avenue to not only celebrate, but also to remember how far we have come in our fight for equality and our fight to end the AIDS epidemic. It is fitting that National HIV testing day follows our Pride celebration because this powerful tool has helped save countless lives in our struggle. We believe the HIV test should be a part of everyone's regular blood work each year, which will both allow us to link people who are not currently diagnosed to treatment, and strengthen our efforts to end the epidemic.
About Gay Men's Health Crisis
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation's leading provider of HIV and AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 9,000 people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in New York City, the epidemic's largest U.S. epicenter. As the world's first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing,
nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV and AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org.
Contact: Anthony Hayes
"Reproduced with permission - GMHC"
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