June 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Obama issues statement on National HIV Testing Day

President Obama has issued a statement recognizing Sunday as National HIV Testing Day and urging Americans to get tested and know their HIV status.

Citing statistics that one in five people with HIV don’t know their HIV status, Obama said the majority of infections are spread by those who are unaware they have the disease.

Obama touts the national HIV/AIDS strategy that is administration is currently developing and said it’s “focused on reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care and reducing HIV-related health disparities.”

The full statement follows:

“This Sunday is National HIV Testing Day, an occasion to raise awareness of the steps each of us can take as individuals to fight HIV/AIDS.  As we mark this day, I would like to renew my call for all Americans to help reduce the risk of infection by getting tested for HIV and learning their HIV status.  One in five Americans who are currently living with HIV — more than 230,000 people — do not know their status.  The majority of HIV infections are spread by those who are unaware that they have the disease.  And research shows that people who know their status take better care of themselves and take steps to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.  That is why it is so important that people get tested.”
“In recent years, we have made huge advances in HIV research, prevention and care.  Still, HIV and AIDS remains an epidemic in this country.  That is why my Administration is launching in the coming days a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy focused on reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.  But government cannot address this important issue alone.  We need the commitment of businesses, churches and faith groups, philanthropic organizations, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions and others.  And all of us have a responsibility to reduce our risk and know our status, to continue to support those already affected by this disease, and to fight the stigma and discrimination people still face.  So on this National HIV Testing Day, let us all recommit to do our part to help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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