National HIV Testing Day to See Participation of Celebrity Advocates

Cure continues to evade HIV and about 1.2 million people are living with the deadly infection in the US alone. And what’s worse, more than 156,000 of them are not even aware that they are infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 30% of the newly infected people — in all, 45,000 new cases are diagnosed each year—are infected by people whose HIV is undiagnosed.

June 27, as such, is being observed as the National HIV Testing Day so that more and more people can come forward to ascertain whether or not they are carrying the infection.

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) is among many organizations that would be encouraging people to take the test on June 27 so that the spread of the infection can be checked. Founded in 1991 by movie star Elizabeth Taylor with a mission to help those living with HIV/AIDS, the ETAF will organize its maiden HIV-testing event at the Abbey in West Hollywood.

Daniel Franzese, Julie Benz, Lance Bass, Frances Fisher and Kyle Pratt are among several celebrity advocates who are expected to encourage people to get tested and help eliminate the stigma around HIV.

Franzese, an ETAF ambassador who plays an HIV-positive character on HBO’s Looking, said, “I was inspired to get involved with this effort after hearing about the work Elizabeth Taylor did for those suffering from HIV and AIDS. I knew I could lend my voice to be a part of eradicating the disease and erasing stigma and continuing her legacy of fighting for change”.

“AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, will commemorate National HIV Testing Day—formally observed on Monday, June 27th—through a series of a dozen or more events promoting HIV prevention, testing and treatment that AHF will host across the United States over the next several days,” according to a news report published by Business Wire.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are currently living with HIV, with almost 50,000 people becoming infected with the virus annually. With one in seven people being unaware of their HIV status, the CDC has found that more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and connecting them to medical care to suppress the virus.

To promote its 2016 National HIV Testing Day events, AHF’s graphics feature an Olympics theme including an update of the iconic Wheaties cereal box cover art, which over the years has featured a number of prominent medal-winning athletes and celebrities. Two versions of AHF’s “Your Health, Your Victory!” artwork encourage people to get tested and learn their HIV status. Supporters of National HIV Testing Day are encouraged to include #TestWithAHF and the official #NHTD hashtag on their social media posts honoring the commemoration.

According to a report in Nbc News by Alamin Yohannes, “Approximately 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and more than 156,000 of them are unaware they are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And of the 45,000 new people diagnosed with HIV each year, the CDC estimates 30 percent are infected by people whose HIV is undiagnosed.”

On June 27, ETAF will hold its first HIV-testing event at the Abbey in West Hollywood. Celebrity advocates, including Daniel Franzese, Julie Benz, Lance Bass, Frances Fisher and Kyle Pratt, will be in attendance to encourage people to get tested, increase awareness and help eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV.

Franzese, an ETAF ambassador who plays an HIV-positive character on HBO’s Looking, told NBC OUT he was inspired to get involved with this effort after hearing about the work Elizabeth Taylor did for those suffering from HIV and AIDS.

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