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Test for Life Marks World AIDS Day, Heightens Awareness of HIV/AIDS Testing in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Test for Life marked the 19th annual World AIDS Day with a reminder that HIV/AIDS remains a serious challenge here in the U.S. and all Americans should know their status in order to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS. HIV prevention efforts have saved thousands of lives, but many of our citizens remain at risk.

Just prior to World AIDS Day, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization issued a report that estimated that 33 million people are living with HIV with 2.5 million newly infected in 2007. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV and that a quarter of them do not know it. CDC also estimates that the majority of new sexually transmitted HIV infections - 50 to 70 percent - are caused by individuals who are unaware of their status. Far too many Americans with HIV are not diagnosed early enough, when they could fully benefit from effective treatment.

A report this week showed that our nation's capital city, Washington D.C., is a modern HIV/AIDS epidemic of its own, where one in 20 city residents is thought to have HIV and more than 80 percent of the District's HIV cases identified over the last five years were among black men, women and adolescents. Nationally, minorities account for 70 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS.

"The analysis on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. illustrates just one example of the hardships we're facing here in the U.S. with the infection and the increasing impact among minorities," said Dr. Gary Puckrein, President and CEO of National Minority Quality Forum. "The first step to overcoming this challenge is for all to take the HIV/AIDS test and know their HIV status in order to receive life-saving care and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS."

Test for Life began in 2006 as an educational campaign of the National Minority Quality Forum, designed to raise awareness of the importance of routine HIV screening in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. CDC's Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing are essential to improving early diagnosis of HIV and linking patients to early care and treatment of the disease. To learn more about Test for Life, please visit our Web site:

SOURCE Test for Life
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