June 27, 2019 is National HIV Testing Day, and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is encouraging everyone to learn their HIV status, their way.
The 2019 theme for National HIV Testing Day is “Doing It My Way,” or “Haciendolo A Mi Manera,” which highlights the numerous ways people can make HIV testing a regular part of their lives, along with the progress made in the fight against HIV and AIDS. 2019 marks the 25th observance of National HIV Testing Day since it began in 1995.
JCPH offers confidential, low-cost HIV tests in our Lakewood clinic during all normal hours of operation and often has same day or next day appointments available. In addition to getting tested in a clinic like JCPH, individuals can take at-home tests or get tested at their primary care physician. The important thing isn’t where you get tested, it’s that you get tested and if necessary, seek treatment. For a full list of ways and places to get tested in addition to JCPH, visit https://locator.hiv.gov/.
“Getting tested for HIV is easier and more accessible than ever, and that’s important,” said Michael Ford, HIV Prevention and Harm Reduction Specialist at JCPH. “The more we incorporate HIV testing into our routine health testing schedules, the better we can be at preventing exposure and transmission from ever happening.”
Ford explained that for people who test negative for HIV, getting tested can open up a conversation about services such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a once-daily medication to prevent HIV, for those at high risk. For those with HIV, the earlier the diagnosis, the earlier treatment can begin, which is key to better health and preventing future transmission. JCPH also provides PrEP prescription and maintenance in our full-service sexual health clinic.
“PrEP has been shown to be as effective as condoms in reducing the transmission of HIV. It’s a major breakthrough to have a tool like this in the toolbox,” Ford said. “Appropriate PrEP prescription and frequent testing – at least once a year for those with higher risk – are important, especially since we know certain groups are disproportionately affected by HIV.”
On National HIV Testing Day, it’s also important to note the forward progress made in the treatment of HIV. With ongoing treatment, individuals with HIV now can stay healthy for many years. People can achieve and maintain an undetectable level of the virus, which means there is effectively no risk of transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
To learn more about the HIV testing or PrEP services offered at JCPH, please visit https://www.jeffco.us/2125/HIV or call 303-232-6301. The JCPH clinic, located at 645 Parfet St., is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday from 8 a.m.-Noon and Thursday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH, visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.