National HIV Testing Day
June 27™ is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). It is an annual observance to promote HIV testing created in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) to spread the “Take the Test, Take Control" message across the country. Today, it is estimated that one in five people with HIV don’t know they have HIV. In a time in which effective HIV treatments are widely available, the imperative for HIV testing has never been greater and the wide availability of HIV testing options assures that knowing your HIV status has never been easier.
APA has been active in supporting research and services for people with HIV/AIDS, as well as those at risk for HIV. APA recognizes the importance of HIV testing in facilitating the care, treatment, mental health and supportive services that people with HIV need to live healthy productive lives. As HIV testing and treatment options expand, APA will continue to work to ensure that prevention counseling and behavioral strategies to promote linkage to and retention in care are updated and remain part of the HIV prevention and treatment continuum of care.
In February 2012, APA passed resolution Combination Biomedical and Behavioral Approaches to Optimize HIV Prevention (PDF, 83KB), emphasizing the need for prevention research incorporating strategies to deal with mental health and substance abuse issues, behavior change and adherence. APA called on congress, the executive branch and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies to increase support for further research to identify and disseminate effective strategies to prevent and treat HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Subsequently reported data from large scale HIV prevention trials have substantiated these concerns and underscored the important roles that psychology should play in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Behavioral and social science research can inform development of interventions to promote HIV testing, normalize HIV and reduce HIV related stigma and discrimination.
Message from David J. Martin, PhD, ABPP, senior director
Office on AIDS, Public Interest Directorate, American Psychological Association