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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Pager

Date: June 17, 2010


Free Rapid HIV Testing

Getting tested for HIV is easy and free. That is the message Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) and its community partners are emphasizing during this year's National HIV Testing Day, June 27. Free and rapid HIV testing continues to be available at statewide sites throughout the year.

"National HIV Testing Day is a good reminder, but there is absolutely no reason anyone has to wait for this day to get tested."said Jim Dickinson, DPH HIV Prevention Program Administrator. Early diagnosis of HIV infection is essential to ensure that those affected fully benefit from life-saving treatments and take steps to protect their partners. 20 percent of people infected with HIV are not aware of it, consequently infecting 50 percent of people who get the disease each year.

"If you are infected and do not know it, you are more likely to infect someone else," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. "The best way to fight this epidemic is by getting educated about how to stop spreading this virus, by getting tested, and by getting treatment if needed."

According to the 2007-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey only 46 percent of Delaware adults age 18-64 report having been tested for HIV.

The CDC recommends that everyone age 13-64 receive routine HIV screenings as part of regular medical care. Men who have sex with men especially should be tested for HIV annually. Heterosexuals who engage in high-risk sexual practices and anyone who injects illegal drugs are also encouraged to get tested at least once a year. Testing is also recommended for women considering pregnancy and pregnant women in the early months of pregnancy to prevent the spread of HIV to the newborn.

"If you are or have ever been sexually active, you should get tested." said Mr. Dickinson. "If you have ever injected illegal drugs you should get tested. It's easy and free to do, and worth the time it takes to give you peace of mind. If it turns out that you do need help, the benefits of early treatment are indisputable."

To find a testing site close to you and basic HIV prevention information, visit and type in your ZIP code. If you do not have internet access, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). You can also visit the HIV Prevention Program at for additional information. Below is a sampling of testing sites throughout the state:

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.