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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 24 June 2009

On National HIV Testing Day, the National Minority AIDS Council Urge Citizens to "KNOWIT"
Do you know your HIV status? On June 27, the National Minority AIDS Council is sponsoring the 2008 National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). Held annually, the event was launched in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of knowing one's HIV status and to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing.
NMAC encourages everyone to find their closest HIV testing site and know their status.
"HIV testing should be part of any annual medical checkup, as this could result in an early diagnosis, and rapid access into care and treatment," Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC commented. "The National HIV Testing Day also offers the opportunity to learn about prevention, essential tool to stop the further spread of the disease nationwide."
On NHTD, local organizations across the nation engage with communities to promote early diagnosis and HIV-testing. There are also other resources to find HIV testing centers like sending a text message with your zip code to KNOWIT (566948). Also, by visiting www.hivtest.org and www.AIDS.gov citizens will be able to find testing centers as well as many other educational resources.
About 250,000 people are unaware of their HIV status. These numbers prove the need for passage of the Routine HIV Screening Act (H.R.822 in the 110th Congress) reintroduced by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35). This Act opens the floor to discuss HIV/AIDS-related stigma and other social determinants that prevent citizens from learning their HIV/AIDS status.
"This bill, as well as The Stop AIDS in Prison Act (H.R. 1429), exemplify the efforts the government should be supporting towards ending this epidemic, such as the creation of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy," said Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, NMAC's Director of Government Relations and Public Policy.  
To learn more about NHTD activities in your area, visit the NAPWA HIV Testing Day Web site, or e-mail info@napwa.org.
About NMAC
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) builds leadership within communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a website: http://www.nmac.org/. Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. For more information, call NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or communications@nmac.org. Visit the agency online at http://www.nmac.org/, as well as on http://www.facebook.com/ and on http://www.wikipedia.com/.

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