Denver (Vocus) June 26, 2009
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is recognizing National HIV Testing Day, June 27, by encouraging people of all ages to learn about HIV, how it is transmitted and how to get tested.
HIV is transmitted in blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. Exposure to any of these fluids can put you at risk for HIV, which is most commonly spread through sexual intercourse (anal, vaginal, or oral), syringe or needle sharing, blood or blood products (rare in the United States) or being exposed to HIV before or during birth or through breast feeding. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV and out of those 1 million people, one out of five do not know they are infected. For this reason, testing for HIV is crucial. The Colorado AIDS Project reports that as of Sept. 30, 2008, there were 6,102 people known to be living with HIV and 10,613 people known to be living with HIV/AIDS in Colorado.
"Education and testing are crucial to preventing the spread of HIV," said PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart. "Planned Parenthood provides confidential HIV testing and our field educators are vigorously out in the community, empowering individuals with the skills and information they need to make responsible, healthy, life-saving decisions about their sexual health."
Throughout its four state region of Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Wyoming, PPRM administered 11,150 HIV tests last year, an increase of almost 2,500 tests from 2007. PPRM's rapid HIV test offers results in 10 minutes.
"Getting tested for HIV is a normal part of health care. Knowing your status is a way to respect yourself and your partner," said Cowart.
In addition to HIV testing and referrals, Planned Parenthood plays an active role in education. PPRM's skilled educators, who teach comprehensive, medically-accurate, age appropriate sex education, promote abstinence and disease prevention.
The CDC recommends that everyone know their HIV status. Tests are available from Planned Parenthood health centers and most physicians, hospitals and health clinics. Local, state and federal health departments often offer free testing. To find the PPRM health center nearest you or to learn more about HIV and AIDS, visit http://www.pprm.org or call 1-800-230-PLAN.
NHTD is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has been committed to providing affordable, confidential health care. Our goal is to ensure that every individual has the information, services and freedom to make healthy, responsible decisions about their sexuality. More than 127,000 women, men and young adults annually visit our health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Wyoming. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1-800-230-PLAN or visit http://www.pprm.org for the health center nearest you.
# # #