National HIV Testing Day: “My Test, My Way”
The theme for this year’s NHTD is “My Test, My Way,” chosen to emphasize not only the importance of getting tested for the virus, but also the ease of locating and taking easy, fast, confidential, and safe HIV tests. The theme hopes to provide opportunities to talk about the testing options available and to empower people to choose where and when to get tested based on their needs and convenience. There are different ways and places to get tested for HIV, including at home with a self-test. Many local health departments and community-based organizations, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distribute free HIV self-testing kits, a program funded in part by the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative.
In a May 3, 2021 press release on HIV.gov, Harold J. Phillips, MRP, and Jonathan Mermin, MD, of the CDC noted that this year’s observation of NHTD comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge LGBTQ people and communities of color, public health departments, and healthcare facilities. “As we approach NHTD,” they wrote, “we also recognize June as Pride month, and on June 5th, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first MMWR report on what would come to be known as AIDS. Highlighting these significant events, even as the response to COVID-19 continues, is important as we work toward our goal to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.”
As part of promoting the 2021 NHTD, organizers urge community members to use the hashtag #HIVTestingDay on their social media channels and to communicate to their followers that there are many options they can use to get tested for HIV. They also encourage community members to add a tagline to their posts, such as “My Test, My Way—Take Pride by Taking the Test” or “My Test, My Way—We Can Be the Generation to End the HIV Epidemic.”
For more information, log on to https://www.hiv.gov/blog.
—Reporting by Hank Trout
Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.