Today is National HIV Testing Day, so its fitting we bring you news of a new initiative by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bring HIV testing programs to pharmacies and clinics across the country.
A two-year pilot program just launched in two dozen rural locations will hopefully be the launchpad for a wider campaign offering confidential, rapid HIV testing as part of the regular services provided by local pharmacies, like blood-pressure testing and flue shots.
“We know that getting people tested, diagnosed and linked to care are critical steps in reducing new HIV infections,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and also reduce the stigma associated with HIV.”
It’s believed more than 200,000 HIV+ Americans—or 1 in 5 of all those infected—do not know they are carrying the virus. This pilot progra is part of CDC’s efforts to support its recommendation that all adults and adolescents should be tested at least once. Currently, less than half of all Americans have ever taken an HIV test.