For Immediate Release
June 24, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Kansans Urged to Get Tested for HIV
National HIV Testing Day is June 27

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one out of five people living with HIV in the U.S. are unaware of their HIV status. National HIV Testing Day on June 27 is an opportunity for people to learn their HIV status and to gain knowledge to take control of their health and their lives.

“HIV remains a devastating disease, but it is preventable and in most cases treatable,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of the Division of Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). “Anyone who is at risk for HIV infection should get tested so that they can know their HIV status and take the necessary steps to protect their health and that of their partners.”

In 2008, 106 Kansans were reported to have become infected with HIV during that year. About 56,300 new HIV infections occur in the U.S. each year, according to CDC.  This amounts to one new HIV infection approximately every nine-and-a-half minutes.

African American and Hispanic communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS. In Kansas, African Americans accounted for 37.4 percent of newly diagnosed HIV cases in 2008 and 26.4 percent of new AIDS cases.  In that same year, Hispanics were diagnosed with 11.3 percent of new HIV cases and 10.4 percent of new AIDS cases. African Americans tend to be the ethnic group most affected by HIV.  According to the CDC, in 2006 approximately 45 percent of new cases of HIV occurred in African Americans, even though they comprise only 13 percent of the U.S. population. 

“Knowing your status is imperative in curtailing the transmission of HIV,” stated Dr. Eberhart-Phillips.
Communities and organizations across the U.S. will sponsor programs on or about June 27 to call attention to the ever-rising numbers of individuals getting tested for HIV and seek solutions to reduce the spread of the virus.  Initiatives planned in recognition of National HIV Testing Day in Kansas include:

For a list of HIV testing sites and other information about HIV, visit the Kansas HIV/AIDS Program website at www.kdheks.gov/hiv/.  To learn more about the CDC 9 ½ Minute Campaign, please visit www.cdc.gov/nineandahalfminutes/.