11/15/2017 More than one million people in the United States live with HIV/AIDS. Of those, one in seven individuals does not know he/she is infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The annual observation of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 serves as a prompter for individuals to undergo HIV testing.

According to the CDC, all people from ages 13-64 should be tested for HIV/AIDS once in their lifetime.

“Being diagnosed and starting treatment early is very helpful in the long run,” explains Jerry Rice, manager of Home Nursing Agency’s AIDS Intervention Project. While early diagnosis can lead to improved treatments and quality of life long-term, many people put off being tested.

“A lot of people don’t want to get tested because they think it will change their lives,” Rice says. “It doesn’t have to change their lives. There are so many resources available – from financial assistance to case management and more.”

The increasing prevalence of drug use creates additional risk factors for HIV/AIDS. The CDC reports that HIV can live in a used needle for up to 42 days.

“The bottom line is that we want to encourage people to be tested,” Rice explains. “There are various sites in our area that offer free and confidential testing.” To find a free testing site, visit gettested.cdc.gov/.

Created in 1986, Home Nursing Agency’s AIDS Intervention Project is Pennsylvania’s oldest AIDS service provider. AIP promotes prevention of the spread of HIV and provides case management services for those affected with HIV/AIDS. Services include financial assistance, support groups, transportation, check-in visits and supportive phone calls for individuals throughout Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Huntingdon counties. All services are community-based and confidential. For more information about AIP, call 814-944-2982.

Click here for more information from the CDC about HIV/AIDS testing.