Today is National HIV Testing Day, and Hoosiers are urged to learn their status. The human immunodeficiency virus weakens a person’s immune system by destroying cells that fight disease and infection.
It can be transmitted sexually, through shared needles, blood, breast milk and other bodily fluids. HIV can also progress to a severe condition called acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
There is no cure for HIV, but it can be successfully managed as a chronic disease with proper care. State health officials say testing and early participation in HIV care are critical to successful disease management.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams encourages people who engage in high-risk sexual behaviors or injection drug use to get tested as soon as possible.
Preliminary numbers from 2016 indicate 413 Indiana residents were newly diagnosed with HIV, while 94 were diagnosed with AIDS. Nearly 80 percent of the newly diagnosed individuals were men. By the end of 2016, state officials 12,175 Indiana residents were living with HIV or AIDS at the end of 2016.
Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 13 percent of Americans living with HIV do not know their status. That means they are not accessing testing and medical care that can keep them healthy and protect their loved ones from infection.
HIV can be detected through testing of oral fluids and blood. Health care providers, local health departments and other entities can provide testing. To find a testing site near you as part of National HIV Testing Day, visit https://www.hiv.gov/locator/ and enter your ZIP code.