PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 26, 2015

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd urges New Jersey residents to get tested for HIV as part of the annual National HIV Testing Day Observance, held June 21- 27.

"Testing is the only way to know if you have HIV," said Commissioner O'Dowd. "Early detection is key to getting into treatment, managing HIV and having the best quality of life. There are highly effective treatments available which can dramatically improve longevity and quality of life for those living with HIV."

One in seven individuals who have HIV are unware that they are infected, according to the CDC.

The theme of the annual National HIV Testing Day observance is "Know your HIV status, Get Tested." The goal is to make more people aware of their HIV status and to link them to life-saving medical treatment before they progress to advanced HIV disease.

To achieve this goal, health departments throughout New Jersey and our nation dedicate the days surrounding the National HIV Testing Day observance to:

  • Encourage people who are at risk of HIV to get tested
  • Urge healthcare professionals to offer an HIV test as part of routine care
  • Promote community dialogue about HIV testing, treatment and prevention
  • Support community organizations to increase opportunities for HIV testing and share lessons learned between across the US
  • Make more key stakeholders aware of the benefits of HIV testing initiatives and how to evaluate HIV testing practices

There are currently more than 140 rapid HIV testing sites located throughout New Jersey's 21 counties. Last year nearly 96,000 HIV tests were performed at these sites. Rapid HIV testing requires less than a single drop of blood from a fingertip. Test results are available in 20 to 40 minutes. For rapid HIV testing information, call 1-866-HIV-CHEC or visit the Department's website at: http://www.nj.gov/health/aids/rapidtesting/location.shtml. New Jersey's HIV testing program is supported through more than $11 million in state and federal funding.

The HIV Linkage to Care Navigators program connects HIV-positive people to HIV medical treatment at 14 sites located throughout New Jersey.

In Northern New Jersey, navigator sites are located at Rutgers, NJ Medical School and St. Michael's Medical Center, both in Newark; Jersey City Medical Center; Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth; St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson; and Zufall Health Center in Dover.

In Central New Jersey, navigator sites are located at Morristown Medical Center; Eric B. Chandler Health Center in New Brunswick; and Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

In Southern New Jersey, navigator sites are located at Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton; Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City; Cooper Health System in Camden; Kennedy Hospital in Voorhees, and Complete Care Health Network in Bridgeton.

The development of a statewide Linkage to Care network has successfully linked 82 percent of New Jersey's new HIV infections to medical treatment.

"One of the greatest achievements in our fight against HIV is shown in the dramatic decrease in pediatric infections due to care coordination given to pregnant mothers carrying the virus," said Dr. Arturo Brito, Deputy Commissioner. "In recent years, only a few infants have been born HIV positive and in 2014 no infants were born with HIV."

More than 38,000 New Jersey residents are currently living with HIV/AIDS. The disease continues to remain prevalent in New Jersey's minority communities that account for 79 percent of all persons living with HIV in New Jersey. While Black women remain at high risk for HIV infection, new disease trends have emerged such that since 2012 the greatest number of new HIV infections in New Jersey has occurred among gay and bisexual men, especially Black and Latino men, ages 18 to 35.

Numerous National HIV Testing Day events are scheduled throughout New Jersey during the week of June 21.

New Jersey Department of Health staff are joining in a number of these observances, including those located at North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) in Newark on June 26; at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton on June 25, and at Hyacinth, New Brunswick on June 25.

Information about these events can be found at http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/aids/events.aspx

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NJDeptofhealth

Last Reviewed: 6/26/2015