In observance of World AIDS Day on December 1, the North Dakota Department of Health is urging people at risk for HIV/AIDS to get tested.
Established by the World Health Organization in 1988, World AIDS Day serves to further global awareness and focus prevention efforts on the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Observation of this day provides an opportunity for governments, national AIDS programs, churches, community organizations and individuals to come together to demonstrate commitment and action in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
December 1serves to remind everyone that the U.S. – like other nations around the world – is deeply affected by this epidemic. Over one million people in the United States are HIV positive, and approximately 56,300 new infections occur every year. As of Dec. 31, 2011, 531 cases of HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS have been reported in North Dakota since HIV/AIDS surveillance began in 1984. About one-fourth of the people estimated to be HIV positive are believed to be unaware of their infections, underscoring the need for increased efforts to reach at-risk populations with HIV testing and prevention services.
The Department of Health urges anyone who has ever put himself or herself at risk for HIV by engaging in risky behavior to get tested. Risky behavior includes unprotected sex, needle sharing for drug use, or getting a tattoo or body piercing in an unsanitary environment. HIV testing is available at test sites throughout the state, and results are available in 20 minutes. The test sites are staffed by trained personnel who offer free and confidential HIV testing, counseling and referrals to those at risk. HIV can be prevented by avoiding or not engaging in risky behaviors.
Fargo Cass Public Health offers Rapid HIV Testing, with results in 20 minutes. For more information, call 701-241-1383.
For information about HIV testing and other HIV/AIDS services, call the North Dakota Department of Health HIV/AIDS Program’s website at www.ndhealth.gov/hiv. There is also a website where you can identify your risk factors through an anonymous survey at http://www.ndhealth.gov/knowyourrisk.