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June 27 marks National HIV Testing Day, and public health agencies across the country are using the day of recognition to encourage people to seek STD testing and find treatment if they are found to be positive for the condition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get tested for HIV at least once as part of their standard medical care. By screening everyone, doctors can determine who is at risk for spreading the infection to others.
Additionally, early diagnosis typically leads to better treatment results. This is why people should be screened following any unprotected sexual encounters. Testing is particularly important among high-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men, as infection rates tend to be higher than in the general population.
The CDC estimates that more than 1 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV, yet about one-fifth of these people do not know they have the disease. Until they are diagnosed these people may continue to pass the infection on to others and the disease is likely to progress to a difficult to treat stage. This is why regular HIV testing for high-risk individuals is so important.
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