World AIDS Day is recognized every year on December 1, to bring awareness to the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This day is a time to reflect on the response efforts, while also honoring the lives of those lost to AIDS-related illnesses and showing support for those living with HIV.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2022 is “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV” and encourages people to unite globally to eliminate barriers to HIV testing, prevention and care. The theme this year highlights recommendations for routine HIV screening and testing.
“Everyone should get tested for HIV and know their status,” said Sarah Weninger, HIV prevention coordinator at North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS). “No matter the outcome of the test, people should be connected with HIV prevention or treatment services.”
Innovations have been made in the fields of HIV care, treatment and prevention so individuals with HIV can enjoy longer, healthier lives. Those living with HIV, who are on HIV medication and achieve and maintain viral suppression, cannot spread HIV to others, which means that successful treatment further drives down new transmission. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is medicine taken to prevent getting HIV. PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV when taken as prescribed.
HHS is collaborating with state and local partners on the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative across North Dakota while following the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. One strategy of this initiative is to ensure that everyone has access to HIV testing.
HHS partners with several entities to provide free HIV testing for community members. To find a testing site near you, visit hhs.nd.gov/health/hiv-testing. Those unable to visit a clinic can access at-home test options via nddoh.mybinxhealth.com.
For more information on HIV, visit hhs.nd.gov/HIV. For more information on the EHE initiative, visit hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/overview.