Did you know that many people with HIV don’t have any symptoms? HIV stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus,” a disease that can lead to the development of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). June 27 is nationally recognized as HIV Testing Day, an important time to help spread awareness about HIV and the benefits of getting tested.  In fact, one in five people living with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they have it.

Currently, there are no cures for HIV or AIDS, but knowledge is an effective tool in the prevention and treatment of the disease. Early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life.

While HIV can affect anyone regardless of race, class or gender, several groups experience a greater incidence and prevalence of the disease. Among racial/ethnic groups, HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects African Americans in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all diagnoses of new HIV infections in 2009, despite the fact that this group accounts for less than 14 percent of the total U.S. population.

In 2010, HIV was among the top 10 leading causes of death for African-American women between ages 15 and 64. In the District of Columbia, 92.4 percent of women living with HIV are African-American. In other minority groups, an estimated 20 percent of new HIV infections occurred among Hispanics in 2009, which is three times the rate of whites.

During National HIV Testing Day, help us raise awareness about this preventable disease, and encourage people to take a test and take control of their lives. To find a testing center near you, visit: https://gettested.cdc.gov/press_files/

Learn how Adventist HealthCare’s Center on Health Disparities is educating the African community on the impact of HIV/AIDS through Project BEAT IT!, by checking out the video below!