For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021
RENO, Nev., June 25, 2018 -June 27th marks National HIV Testing Day, a day to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis, while reducing the stigma around HIV. Making HIV testing easy, accessible and routine is one of the keys to preventing new infections. For people who are HIV-negative, testing can serve as the gateway to prevention services, such a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those at high risk. For people with HIV, getting a diagnosis early, starting treatment immediately after diagnosis, and staying in treatment, are essential to improving their health outcomes and preventing transmission to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone between the ages of 13-64 have at least one HIV test in their life. People who have unprotected sex or share needles for any reason should be tested at least annually.
HIV and AIDS remain a persistent problem in the United States and around the world. While great progress has been made in prevention and treating HIV, there is still much to do. In 2014, there were an estimated 37,600 new HIV infections. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men bear the greatest burden by risk group, representing an estimated 26,200 of new HIV infections. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Of those people, about 1 in 7, do not know they are infected. In Washoe County, the 2016 incidence of HIV infection was 9.6 cases per 100,000.
“We have the tools in place to help end the HIV epidemic. The critical part of ending HIV is that everyone knows their HIV status by testing at least once, and more regularly if a person is at risk from engaging in unprotected sex or sharing needles for any reason,” said Kitty Jung, chair of the Washoe County District Board of Health. “Having a sexually transmitted disease increases a person’s risk of contracting HIV three-to-five times if they are exposed. So, with our increasing STD rates, especially syphilis, it is essential that people be tested for HIV as well,” Jung said.
Testing is available through private healthcare providers. In addition, Washoe County Health District’s Sexual Health Program offers free, confidential HIV testing in the community on a regular basis. For information on HIV testing, HIV care and sexual health services in our community, contact Jennifer Howell, Sexual Health Program Coordinator, at 775-328-6147.
About Washoe County Health District: The Washoe County District Board of Health, through the Washoe County Health District, has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Washoe County, Nevada. Its mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Washoe County through health promotion, disease prevention, public health emergency preparedness, and environmental services. The Board of Health is composed of seven members, including two representatives each from Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County, and a physician licensed to practice medicine in Nevada.