Secretary of Health Urges HIV Testing for All Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy is reminding Pennsylvanians that June 27 is National HIV Testing Day and urges all Pennsylvanians to get tested for HIV as part of their routine health care.

“It is crucial for everyone to be tested for HIV and learn their status,” said Secretary Murphy. “Early detection of HIV means people can receive effective treatment, support, and counseling, if needed, and reduce further transmission of HIV.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in seven people infected with HIV in the United States is unaware of his or her infection. Many of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year are transmitted by people who do not know that they are HIV-positive and who may continue to engage in behavior that could jeopardize their health and the health of others. According to the CDC, Pennsylvania was among the top 10 states reporting the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2013.

The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and that people with certain risk factors get tested more often. In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force supported CDC’s recommendation by making HIV screening for those aged 15-65 and for pregnant women a “Grade A” recommendation. This means that routine screening for HIV is covered by most private and public insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) also requires that Grade A recommendations be covered by private insurance.

Routine HIV testing in health care settings is an important strategy to increase the number of individuals who know their HIV infection status and, if found to be HIV-infected, can be linked to needed care, prevention, and support services. HIV testing must be fully integrated into existing patient/clinic flow and approached as a standard of care, such that each patient is recommended for HIV testing, regardless of HIV risk or reason for visit.

“HIV testing today is quicker, easier, more accessible, and completely confidential,” added Secretary Murphy. “For those individuals who have HIV, testing is the gateway to care and treatment. There are highly effective treatments that allow individuals with HIV to live a long and healthy life. Treatment can also reduce the risk of transmission by lowering the level of HIV in the blood. For individuals who may be at risk, but do not have HIV, testing can help connect them to important prevention services so they can learn to make healthier decisions and remain HIV free.”

In addition to routine HIV testing available through health care providers, the Department of Health’s HIV Prevention Program makes free HIV testing available throughout Pennsylvania at state health centers, local health departments, and select community-based organizations.

For more information about HIV testing or counseling, please call the Department of Health’s AIDS Factline at 800-662-6080. Information is also available at

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