National HIV Testing Day

By LeAnne Prenovost DNP, MBA, RN, CNE, CHSE Assistant Professor, DNP Program Faculty and Dr. Sandi McDermont

Senior mother kissing adult daughter on her forehead

My Test, My Way

On June 5, 1981, the first data about the history and geographic origins of human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was published.1 This report highlighted five previously healthy young men in Los Angeles diagnosed with what would soon become known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). A year later, the first AIDS case was reported in Africa. Today, HIV remains one of the largest epidemics in the world.

Despite the prevalence of HIV, the world has witnessed remarkable bravery and resilience as professionals and communities come together to battle HIV and AIDS. Courage, compassion and commitment have beaten seemingly impossible odds during the devastating course of this disease. Fear of the disease has been replaced with hope of a future free of HIV and AIDS.

Extensive research on HIV has led to screening, early detection and successful treatment options, and professionals are continuing to make strides toward HIV awareness and prevention. One way that professionals help provide awareness is to observe National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). First observed on June 27, 1995, NHTD is a day to encourage people to get tested for HIV, know their status and get connected to care and treatment.

June 27th of each year is commemorated as a day to unite with partners, health departments and other organizations to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV.2 Early detection and treatment is important because it reduces patient mortality and prevents future transmissions. The earlier an individual is diagnosed with HIV, the earlier they can begin treatment and slow the progression of the disease, keeping people healthy for years.

The theme for NHTD 2021 is “My Test, My Way.” This year’s theme highlights how one can take charge of their health by getting tested for HIV in a way that works best for them—whether that is self-testing in their own space or finding a testing site close to them. There are more testing options today than ever before. 

An estimated 1.2 million Americans aged 13 or over are HIV-positive.3 For people with undiagnosed HIV, testing is the first step in taking charge of their health in order to maintain a healthy life and reduce the spread of this disease. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care, and people at higher risk should get tested more often.

The annual NHTD helps increase knowledge and awareness of HIV to people all over the United States, which is key in preventing and treating the disease early on. After 40 years of progress, it’s time to end the HIV epidemic. 

Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is committed to helping students take control of their health and learn how best to deal with the diseases of today. GCU offers a variety of undergraduate healthcare degrees and online nursing programs that help students learn how to promote a healthy lifestyle and be a leader in their field. Click the Request Info button at the top of your page to learn more about your options at GCU.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Media Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, on 40 Years Since CDC Published Its First Report on HIV in the United States in June 2021 

2Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, June 26). National HIV Testing Day 2023. Retrieved on May 31, 2024. 

3Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2024, April 22). Fast Facts: HIV in the United States. Retrieved on May 31, 2024. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.