LANSING–The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recognized World AIDS Day Thursday to bring awareness to the ongoing HIV epidemic and to remember those who have been lost due to HIV and AIDS. Michiganders are encouraged to get tested for HIV to know their status, and any person with HIV who is not in treatment is encouraged to engage in medical care.
“It is essential that we reach people who do not know their HIV status, ensure they are tested and connect those who test positive with quality care so they can lead healthy lives,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “As a state we are committed to taking proactive measures to end the HIV epidemic which is why it is so important for Michigan residents to know their HIV status.”
This year’s theme is “putting ourselves to the test: achieving equity to end HIV.” The theme relates to ongoing efforts by MDHHS to end the HIV epidemic through equitable and culturally competent programs, outreach and resources for HIV testing, treatment and prevention. Over the past year, MDHHS has worked to ensure access to HIV services is available to everyone. Local health departments offer free and confidential HIV services on-site, and many offer at-home HIV test kits that can be mailed directly to residents. Many local organizations also offer HIV services. Michiganders can call 211 or visit this website to locate HIV testing and treatment services near them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone get tested for HIV at least once as an adult. MDHHS recommends that anyone with a new sex or needle-sharing partner or people who are at high risk be tested more often.
As part of Michigan’s Ending the HIV Epidemic plan, MDHHS is working to significantly reduce the rate of new HIV infections by supporting efforts to increase HIV testing, connect people to quality health care and increase the use of prevention strategies such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and “Undetectable equals Untransmittable.”
People who are at high risk of HIV exposure are encouraged to talk to their doctor about PrEP, a medication designed to prevent HIV infection if there is an exposure.
To find testing locations and discover more about Michigan’s resources for HIV, visit Michigan.gov/HIVSTI.