“Take the Test, Take Control” is the key message of the National HIV Testing Day held on June 27 and sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of People with AIDS.

All Americans need to know they should Take the Test, Take Control, at least once a year,” reads a National Association of People with AIDS announcement.

The CDC explains that early detection of HIV allows people who are infected the benefit from available life-saving treatments. The CDC adds that “almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they already have developed AIDS.”

We Make the Change, a Florida Department of Health campaign that promotes safe sex, adds:

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Florida has disproportionately affected its minority populations. Of the 101,013 cumulative adult cases of AIDS that were reported through December 2005, 65 percent were in minority populations. Of the 1,504 cumulative pediatric AIDS cases, almost 89 percent were among minorities.

“Since the onset of the epidemic, communities of color and gay men have been disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS,” says the National Minority AIDS Council.

The Minority AIDS Council adds:

Many in these communities remain unaware of their status or are tested late in their disease. The trends are even more alarming among young people. A recent CDC analysis of 21 urban areas found that among young gay men, 63 percent were unaware of their status (three times the national average). Among young black gay men, that number jumped to 71 percent.

A February report (.pdf) released by the Florida Department of Health indicates that the state ranks third for AIDS cases, and by 2010 almost half of the 98,000 reported cases of people living with HIV/AIDS occured among blacks, even though they represent just 16 percent of the state’s population.

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