June 27 is the commemoration of the National HIV Testing Day in the United States, a nation that has joined the United Nation’s call for a comprehensive action to end this worldwide epidemic.

National HIV testing campaigns can be useful by promoting the testing among plenty of people, although the precise impact of those campaigns on the identification of new HIV-positive diagnosis was unclear until recently, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

National HIV Testing Day
June 27 marks the National HIV Testing Day in the U.S. Credit: Newhealthremedies.org

The CDC’s National HIV Prevention Program Monitoring and Evaluation determined that new HIV-positive diagnoses peaked in June in comparison to other months, specifically an important peak on June 27 from 2011 to 2014. The day had a substantial impact on increasing the number of people who knew their HIV status and in diagnosing new HIV cases.

Also, the day was proven effective as well in reaching people at high risks who are disproportionately affected by the illness, which are African American men, men who have sex with men and transgender people, the CDC stated.

“After two decades of campaigns promoting the annual NHTD, it is important to know whether these efforts have resulted in an increase in the number of new HIV diagnoses and whether persons at highest risk for HIV infection are effectively reached,” the CDC wrote in a press release.

The day includes nearly 400 events nationwide, some of which can be spared within several days. Its main goal is to promote HIV testing, linkage to antiretroviral therapy and prevention of new infections. At the same time, the main goals go with a national strategy focused on reducing HIV infections, optimizing health outcomes and decreasing disparities.

HIV in numbers

Nearly 35 years have passed since the CDC first reported some cases of an unknown illness that was initially thought to affect gay man primarily, as reported by Los Angeles Times. That unknown disease promptly became a global threat and a major public health issue with no cure. There are 36.7 million people infected around the world, and only 17 million are currently receiving treatment.

More than a half of those infected are located in eastern and southern Africa. In 2010, it was determined that only 24 percent received treatment. Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe increased their coverage by more than 25 percent between 2010 and 2015.

There was a small but significant decrease in the HIV infections among adults over the last year, the amount of new infection expected dropped from 2.2 million in 2010 to 2.1 million in 2015. The biggest reduction was in eastern and southern Africa, although the new infection increased by 57 percent in eastern Europe and central Asia.

Since the disease was first announced and recorded, 35 million people have died, the equivalent of a small country’s population. Just last year 1.1 million people worldwide died from HIV-related causes, compared with 2 million in 2005.

Source: CDC