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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that HIV testing is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the infection. In recognition of this fact, many local health departments are leading efforts to encourage residents to get themselves tested.
The Lake County Health Department, which serves parts of Chicago, recently held an event offering individuals a barbecue and picnic while they waited for their HIV testing results to come in, according to the Lake County News-Sun.
Officials said that the event was part of their efforts to destigmatize HIV testing and make it a part of regular preventative healthcare. Many experts say that people should be tested once per year to ensure that they do not have the virus and are not spreading it to other people.
"We need to encourage everyone out there to be tested," Priscilla Brown, one of the individuals who got tested, told the news source. "HIV is a worldwide disease, and everybody needs more information on it."
There are currently more than 1 million Americans infected with HIV but up to 20 percent are unaware of their disease, according to the CDC.
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