Take the Test, Take Control

Vermont Recognizes National HIV Testing Day

For Immediate Release:  June 25, 2010
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The 17th National HIV Testing Day will be recognized on June 27, 2010. Vermont has more than 40 sites in nine regions where anonymous and confidential HIV tests are offered, including 13 locations in Chittenden County.

Testing is available at Vermont Department of Health district offices in Newport, St. Albans, and at the central office in downtown Burlington. A total of 3,227 tests were provided through the Health Department program in 2009.

In 2008, 227 Vermonters were known to be living with AIDS, and 131 with HIV. An estimated 113 to 132 people in Vermont are living with the virus but are not aware that they have contracted HIV.

More than one million people in the United States are living with HIV, and according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), one out of five people do not know they are infected.

CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Testing once a year (or more frequently) is recommended for people at high risk, such as gay and bisexual men, injection drug users, or anyone with multiple sexual partners.

CDC also recommends that pregnant women get tested early in their pregnancy so steps can be taken that will prevent transmission to their baby.

Almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they have already developed AIDS, and it can take up to 10 years to be diagnosed after they first became infected with HIV.

HIV is spread primarily through unprotected sex and syringe-sharing. A mother with HIV can pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding, although early intervention and medical care can greatly reduce the risk.

Anyone interested in HIV antibody testing can ask their health care provider for a confidential test. People who would like free, anonymous HIV testing supported by the Health Department can call the Vermont AIDS Hotline, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at 1-800-882-2437 to speak with a counselor.

The Health Department provides OraSure™ testing, where a test sample of oral fluid is collected and sent to the Health Department laboratory for analysis. Test results are ready within one to two weeks. Vermonters can also access OraQuick™, a 20-minute screening tool for HIV at many locations statewide.

National HIV Testing Day is organized annually by the National Association of People With AIDS, with support from CDC and AIDS.gov.

For more information on HIV and AIDs you can also visit healthvermont.gov or www.getttestedvermont.com.

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