News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   June 26, 2001

Christine Grant

For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan


Commissioner Urges People at Risk of
HIV Infection to Get Tested
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day

TRENTON - In recognition of National HIV Testing Day (June 27), Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant is urging people at risk of HIV infection to be tested at any of 23 free testing and counseling sites in New Jersey.

"Early diagnosis means early medical treatment, prolonged lives and increased quality of life for people with HIV. It also is an important factor in reducing HIV incidences and preventing further transmission," Grant said. "Echoing the theme of National HIV Testing Day, it's time to take the test and take control."

In the 20 years since the first diagnosis of AIDS was made, 57,163 New Jersey residents have been reported with HIV/AIDS. HIV and AIDS are transmitted through exchange of bodily fluids, especially blood and semen. Sharing needles and having unprotected sex are high-risk behaviors for transmission of HIV and AIDS.

Individuals who are urged to be tested for HIV are those in groups that have been disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, including African-Americans, Latinos, injecting drug users and their partners, young adult men who have sex with other men, and women with multiple sex partners. In addition, anyone concerned about his or her HIV status should also seek testing and counseling.

In recognition of the National HIV Testing Day, most testing and counseling sites will have expanded hours Wednesday and some are hosting special promotions to boost testing awareness and participation. Anyone who takes an HIV test this week at the Henry J. Austin Health Center, in Trenton, for instance, will be eligible to win a portable cassette/CD player with an AM/FM radio.

For information on the nearest HIV testing and counseling site, call the New Jersey AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-624-2377. The Hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All counseling and testing sites use Ora-Sure for HIV testing, which is a simple, non-invasive oral procedure. A special swab is used between the cheek and gum to obtain a sample that is then tested for HIV antibodies.

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