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In preparation for National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping up its awareness campaign and urging individuals to seek an HIV test.
Nikki Kay, a spokeswoman for the CDC, recently told the Seattle Times that the disease has reached an epidemic level, and that more testing is needed to help stop the spread of the currently incurable infection.
"Many people make the assumption they're not infected, and yet those who are unaware account for the majority of new infections," she told the news source. "We can't be complacent about the disease. Testing is a key step in ending the epidemic."
As part of the national day of testing, many cities' health departments will be providing free HIV testing, according to the CDC's website.
The public health agency estimates that 20 percent of those who have contracted the illness don't know that they're infected. This is the equivalent of more than 200,000 people who don't know they are carrying the virus and may contribute the spread of the epidemic.
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