TUESDAY, June 26, 2012 (HealthDay News) -- More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, but 20 percent of them don't know they're infected.
Federal health officials are urging everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
And there's no better time to start than Wednesday, June 27 -- National HIV Testing Day.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual testing for people at higher risk of HIV infection, including intravenous drug users, gay and bisexual men, or people who have multiple sex partners. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from even more frequent testing -- perhaps every three to six months, the CDC said.
The CDC also urges pregnant women to get tested early in their pregnancy so they can take the steps necessary to keep from passing HIV to their babies.
As part of National HIV Testing Day, the CDC recommends:
- Asking your doctor for an HIV test or finding a place to get tested in your community. For help in finding a testing place, go to www.hivtest.org, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or text your zip code to "KNOW IT" (566948).
- Getting tested once a year, or more often if you have more than one sex partner, inject drugs, or are a gay or bisexual man.
- Lowering your HIV risk by having sex with only one partner -- someone you know is uninfected. Or using a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
- Getting medical care as soon as possible if you have HIV to stay healthier longer and to keep from passing the virus to others.
To learn more about HIV/AIDS, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.