News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Christine Grant
Acting Commissioner
For Release:
June 23, 1999
For Further Information Contact:
Tom Breslin
Mary Riley
(609) 984-7160
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Department Encourages New Jersey Residents at Risk to be Tested for HIV

Trenton -- June 27 is National HIV Testing Day and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is encouraging people at risk to join the ranks of the more than 600,000 people who have been tested for HIV in New Jersey since 1990. Special outreach programs in Trenton, Camden and Atlantic City will make it easier for people to receive counseling and get tested.

The Department encourages persons in the highest risk categories to be tested, including; African Americans, Latinos, sexually active women, young adults and homosexual men. Anyone concerned about his or her HIV status should also seek counseling and testing. Free confidential testing and counseling is available at 28 counseling and testing sites located throughout New Jersey.

"Early detection of HIV is important. If a person is HIV positive he or she can then begin to receive essential medical treatment. Prevention and early diagnosis are important to reduce incidence of HIV and stop the further transmission of the disease," said Acting Commissioner Christine Grant.

In recognition of the National HIV Testing Day, three of the Counseling and Testing Sites will offer the following services: The Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton will participate in the city of Trenton's First Annual Youth Summer Fest on Friday, June 25, from 2:00 - 8:00 PM at the Battle Monument. The HIV staff will provide information on prevention, counseling and testing. The Camden Area Health Education Center (CAHEC) will host a Block Party on Saturday, June 26, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM at Elijah Perry Park to offer counseling and testing. In addition, the CAHEC will participate in the city's annual San Juan Bautista Day Parade by having counseling and testing services available in the agency's Mobile Health Van. The Atlantic City Health Department is sponsoring an informational campaign this week encouraging local residents to seek counseling and testing and will also offer expanded hours for counseling and testing from 1:00 - 4:00 PM on Sunday, June 27.

The HIV virus is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, especially blood and semen.

The counseling and testing sites use Ora-Sure for HIV testing, a simple, non-invasive oral test. A special swab is used between the cheek and gum to obtain a cell sample that is then tested for HIV antibodies.

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a consumer alert warning that certain HIV home testing kits have not been approved. Internet ads falsely stated or implied the HIV testing kits were approved by the FDA and the World Health Organization. Currently, the Home Access Express HIV - 1 Testing System is the only FDA approved home HIV testing kit.

To obtain information on the nearest HIV testing site, call the New Jersey AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-624-2377. The Hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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