HIV Testing Recommended On National HIV Testing Day

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY – On June 27, National HIV Testing Day, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) recommended that all adolescents and adults get HIV tested with the long-term goal of ending the HIV epidemic in New Jersey by 2025. 

According to, approximately 1.2 million people in the United States, with 37,693 cases of HIV in New Jersey in 2022. Additionally, the US Department of Health and Human Services says that 13 percent of people who live with HIV are not aware of their HIV diagnosis. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends individuals 13 through 64 get tested at least once. However, individuals at higher risk should be tested at least once yearly. Healthcare providers should offer an HIV test as a part of routine care. 

In 2022, New Jersey administered 35,382 free and confidential rapid HIV tests that provide results in 20 minutes in over 100 locations, compared to 34,513 in 2021. 

Individuals who test negative for HIV but are at high risk are connected to a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and a PrEP counselor, when necessary, which is an HIV prevention strategy. PrEP is a singular pill taken once a day to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV from sex by 90 percent. One thousand one hundred fifteen new clients enrolled in the PrEP program in 2022. 

Early diagnosis of HIV is critical in order to not further spread the disease. Early detection and routine screening allows for early treatment, when needed, to avoid the status of detection becoming advanced HIV or AIDS, reducing the risk of transmission and the stigma around HIV and the treatment itself. 

In light of National HIV Testing Day, this year, the theme for the national observance is “Take the Test & Take the Next Step” the NJDOH-funded agencies will host more than 25 different testing events across the state. These events will offer free rapid HIV testing and connect with local communities through food, music, prizes, and giveaways for those who come to get tested. 

Stores and hundreds of health departments and community organizations, such as Walgreens and Greater Than Hiv, provide free HIV testing, counseling, and additional information about HIV in more than 420 Walgreens stores across 38 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. 

All these efforts come with New Jersey’s three primary goals to end the HIV epidemic: to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 75 percent, to promote access to testing so that all persons with HIV/AIDS are aware of their status, and to promote access and linkage to care so that 90 percent of those diagnosed are virally suppressed. 

The NJDOH continues to push toward the end of the HIV epidemic by working with partners to promote HIV testing and connect individuals to treatment and medication to prevent further transmission throughout the state. 

To learn more about the testing events and other services, click here

If you are at high risk for HIV and seek PrEP, call the NJ AIDS/STD hotline at 800-624-2377 to find a counselor.

To locate a testing site near you, click here

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