WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today recognized the important mission of National HIV Testing Day on its 20th anniversary and encouraged residents of Southwest Connecticut to get tested for the virus.

“We’ve made great strides in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, but too many Americans, especially young people, are living with HIV without even knowing it. Early detection improves health and prevents the spread of the disease. On this 20th anniversary of National HIV Testing Day, I encourage everyone to get tested.” 

It is now easier than ever to get tested for HIV. For testing locations near you, visit:  http://hivtest.cdc.gov/

More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and almost 1 in 6, or 15.8 percent, are unaware of their infection. That means they are missing out on essential care to stay healthy and may transmit the virus on to other without knowing it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. CDC also recommends HIV testing at least once a year for people with a higher risk of HIV infection, such as gay and bisexual men, people with more than one sex partner, people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and people who inject drugs.

Himes has consistently pushed to increase funding to combat HIV/AIDS. In December, Himes and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) re-introduced the Cure for AIDS Act, which would fund research and development of a cure for HIV/AIDS. Currently, the majority of federally funded AIDS research is directed toward vaccines and treatment.

The bill establishes a $100 million research program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program managed by the Department of Defense that will fund research targeted directly toward discovering a cure for HIV/AIDS. The Department would work closely with academic researchers and nonprofit organizations to create a consortium of scientists and advocates to review cure proposals.