PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 23, 2014

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Christie Administration Recognizes First Annual National HIV Testing Week USA (June 21-June 27) National HIV Testing Day is June 27 (En Espanol)

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd encouraged residents to get tested for HIV as part of the inaugural "National HIV Testing Week USA" to learn their status and help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

"We are making great strides in the battle against HIV/AIDS," said Commissioner O'Dowd. "However the fact remains that more than 37,500 New Jersey residents are living with HIV/AIDS and an additional 6,700 residents are estimated to be infected but are unaware- which is why getting tested is so important."

The ultimate goal of National HIV Testing Week USA is to make more people aware of their HIV status and to reduce late diagnosis by communicating the benefits of HIV testing. National HIV Testing Week is being introduced to:

  • Encourage people who are at risk of HIV to get tested
  • Encourage healthcare professionals to offer an HIV test as part of routine care
  • Encourage community dialogue about HIV testing, treatment and prevention
  • Support and unite community organizations to scale-up HIV testing and share lessons learned across the US
  • Make more key stakeholders aware of the benefits of HIV testing initiatives and how to evaluate HIV testing practices

More information about National Testing Week USA is available at: www.nhtwus.org

"The inaugural theme for National HIV Testing Week USA is - Talk HIV. Test HIV. Treat HIV," noted Commissioner O'Dowd. "The importance of these messages is critical because the only way to enroll in programs to receive life-saving treatment and control the spread of HIVis to first know your status. An effective strategy to ensure more people are tested and to destigmatize the test is for providers to incorporate it into routine patient care."

There are more than 140 rapid HIV testing sites in New Jersey that performed nearly 95,000 tests in 2013. Rapid HIV testing requires less than a single drop of blood from a fingertip. Test results are available in 20 to 40 minutes. For rapid HIV testing information, call 1-866-HIV-CHEC or visit the DOH website at:http://www.state.nj.us/health/aids/rapidtesting/location.shtml.

After testing, if the results are positive, the Department's HIV Prevention Patient Navigator Program can help people get an appointment for care and treatment on the same or next business day. The navigator sites are located at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and St. Michael's Medical Center, both in Newark; Jersey City Medical Center; Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City; Cooper Health System in Camden; St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Paterson; and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth.

New Jersey's HIV testing program is supported through more than $11 million in state and federal funding.

In recognition of National HIV Testing Week USA, Department of Health staff will attend educational health events at the Camden Area Health Education Center, Inc. in Camden on June 26, and the Iris House in Plainfield on June 27.

"One of the greatest achievements in our fight against HIV is shown in the dramatic decrease in pediatric infections due to care coordination given to pregnant mothers carrying the virus," said Dr. Arturo Brito, Deputy Commissioner. "In recent years, only a few infants have been born HIV positive in New Jersey."

HIV/AIDS is still prevalent in New Jersey's minority communities, which account for 78 percent of all persons living with the illness in our state. Black women are especially vulnerable; during 2010-2011 the rate of new cases of HIV/AIDS among black women was 24 times higher than the rate among non-Hispanic White women.

Local health departments, hospitals and community-based organizations throughout New Jersey will be hosting events featuring free HIV testing as part of National HIV Testing Day and week. A list of events is available on the Department's website at http://web.doh.state.nj.us/apps2/aids/events.aspx.

  

Last Reviewed: 6/25/2014