HHS Promotes Nebraska HIV Testing Week

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HIV Testing Week

July 3, is a time to draw attention to the availability of free, anonymous and confidential HIV counseling and testing for Nebraskans.

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS.

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This is part of the National HIV Testing Day campaign and is sponsored by the National Association of People Living with AIDS and the Nebraska Health and Human Services System (HHSS). The goal is to encourage at-risk individuals to take the test and take control of their lives through education and health-promoting behaviors. With HIV, the risk is not knowing.

Over one million Americans presently live with HIV or AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The increase reflects the growing number of HIV/AIDS patients who are living longer because of new treatments. But it also shows the failure in preventing the spread of the virus, CDC said. With more HIV-positive people living longer and nearly one-quarter unaware of their status, experts estimate that a majority of new cases are caused by people who do not know they are HIV-positive.

"We want to educate the public and encourage counseling and testing for those at risk of infection," said Heather Younger, HIV Counseling and Testing Program Manager for the Nebraska Department Health and Human Services. "There are numerous publicly funded test sites in Nebraska that offer free or low-cost HIV counseling and testing services."

Many of the testing sites now offer extended testing hours and events, including outreach with OraSure, the oral HIV antibody test. OraQuick Advance, the 20-minute rapid HIV screening test, is being used at the Nebraska AIDS Project, Central Health Center, Douglas County Health Department, and Panhandle Community Services.

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