Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: June 27, 2013
Dover, DE - To celebrate the National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) urges every Delawarean who has ever had sex or shared a needle, and has never been tested for HIV to get tested. It is important for each individual to protect themselves and the health of their loved ones on June 27 and every day: Take the test, take control.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 50,000 people in the United States are newly infected HIV each year with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot stop HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. In 2010 (the most recent year that data are available), there were an estimated 47,500 new HIV infections in the U. S. Nearly two-thirds of these new infections occurred in gay and bisexual men. In Delaware, from 2007 to 2011, annual cases of new HIV infection declined from 169 to 111 cases (a 35% decrease). However, 144 cases were reported in 2012. The population with the fastest growing rate of new infections in 2012 were young, African-American men who have sex with men (MSM). After more than 30 years of the HIV epidemic, 1 in 5 people with HIV still may not know they are infected because they have never been tested. DPH has partnered with several agencies to establish multiple testing sites statewide with rapid HIV testing kits that require only a single finger needle-stick and gives results within 10 minutes.
"You can get the test for free, have all your questions about HIV answered, and receive the test results before you leave the office." says Dr. Awele Maduka-Ezeh, DPH medical director. "There is world-class HIV treatment available in Delaware and there is no waiting list, so infected individuals can get into care very quickly. If left untreated, HIV is devastating to the health of the infected individual and may infect sexual and needle sharing contacts."
Dr. Maduka-Ezeh also explained that while the current HIV test can detect infection earlier than ever before, "It can take two to three months after infection for HIV to show up on the current HIV screening tests."
Testing locations in Delaware include:
New Castle County:
An HIV test performed less than 3 months after the last possible exposure may miss early infection, hence the need to test annually, especially for those with ongoing risky behavior. Many people wait until they are sick or until they are hospitalized before they get tested. Late testing means they could be infecting other people all those years and the HIV virus has more time to do severe damage to their bodies.
DPH strives to make HIV testing available for anyone that needs it, and finding a free testing site nearby is as easy as going to www.hivtest.org and entering your zip code. CDC and DPH have recommended that HIV testing become part of the annual physical evaluation. If you would rather go to your doctor's office for a test, DPH urges you to do so; just get a test - anywhere you can.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.