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June 27th Marks National HIV Testing Day
I will continue to remind individuals about the importance of knowing their HIV status as long as HIV/AIDS continues its devastation, and disproportionately impacts the African American community. Nothing should stand in your way of knowing your status and getting the care if you need it. We need to come together in fighting not only the disease, but the stigma attached to it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, HIV/AIDS has claimed the lives of more than 550,000 Americans. Today, about 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and one fifth of those infected are unaware of their infection.
Pennsylvania reported 38,217 AIDS cases to CDC, cumulatively, from the beginning of the epidemic through December 2008, ranking 7th highest among the 50 states in cumulative reported AIDS cases.
Additionally, the CDC reports while blacks represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for almost half (46 percent) of people living with HIV in the US, as well as nearly half (45 percent) of new infections each year.
As many of you are aware my wife, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, and I launched the “Test Together” public awareness campaign in 2008 that is designed to encourage couples, friends and family members to take the test for HIV/AIDS. For more information about the campaign, visit www.testtogether.org or call 1.800.CDC.INFO.
This disease is completely preventable. Take the test, take control and together, let's defeat this disease.
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes