The US is holding a National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) today as part of an annual campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counselling and testing.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 180,000 to 280,000 people nationwide are HIV-positive but are unaware of their status.

HIV counselling and testing enables people with HIV to take steps to protect their own health and that of their partners, and helps people who test negative get the information they need to stay uninfected.

Across the country, thousands of HIV counselling and testing sites, state and local health departments, and community-based HIV/AIDS service providers will participate in NHTD events, by holding health fairs, providing community and media outreach, hosting special testing-related events or operating extended hours. Some of these events may be scheduled in the days and weeks surrounding NHTD.

NHTD organisers will also reach out to communities at increased risk of HIV infection, including African American and Latino populations, both of which are disproportionately affected with HIV when compared to other demographic groups in the United States.

Founded in 1983, NAPWA is the oldest coalition of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world and the oldest national AIDS organization. NAPWA advocates on behalf of all people living with HIV and AIDS in order to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by HIV/AIDS.

HIV-positive people have a unique role to play in HIV prevention and promotion of voluntary HIV counselling and testing. This is the eleventh year of National HIV Testing Day.

© 2006 GayWired.com, All Rights Revered