PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 26, 2020

Judith M. Persichilli

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Department of Health Encourages HIV Testing as part of National HIV Testing Day Observance

This Year’s Theme: The Power of “Knowing”

Organizations around the state will be hosting HIV testing and education events with COVID safety protocols in place to recognize tomorrow, June 27, as National HIV Testing Day.


“Just as we must all remain vigilant in containing the spread of COVID-19 in our state, we must continue to take the necessary steps to reduce the burden of HIV in our communities,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “That begins with getting tested.”


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV testing has decreased substantially across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


More than 38,000 people are living with HIV in New Jersey. From 2008 to 2018, there has been a 26 percent decline in the number of new HIV diagnoses due to highly effective treatments.


In 2018, the Murphy Administration pledged to end the HIV epidemic in the state by 2025.


In addition to New Jersey’s ongoing statewide efforts to end the HIV epidemic, Essex and Hudson counties are included in the federal initiative to end the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years – which focuses on 57 geographic areas where HIV transmission occurs most frequently.


An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2018, including about 168,00 people who are unaware of their status.


The CDC recommends individuals between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once, and those at higher risk should be tested at least once a year. Healthcare professionals should offer an HIV test as part of routine care.


The Department continues to work with partners to promote testing and link individuals with treatment and HIV medications that are effective in preventing transmission of the virus.


Nearly 65,000 free, confidential rapid HIV tests were administered in New Jersey last year at more than 140 locations. This testing program delivers test results in about 20 minutes, and people can be linked to a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Counselor if HIV negative or HIV Clinic if HIV positive.


PrEP, is a single pill, that when taken once-daily can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV from sex by 90%. New Jersey has 35 PrEP counselors who work in HIV clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), and community-based organizations. Last year, the PrEP program enrolled nearly 2,000 new clients. 


In November, the Department—in partnership with Thomas Jefferson University—launched a TelePrEP initiative to improve access to PrEP by using a telemedicine approach. The TelePrEP pilot was created in response to the limited number of PrEP prescribers in NJ and the stigma clients encounter when accessing PrEP in traditional settings.


Strategies for preventing or reducing risk of HIV infection include:

  • Seeking HIV PrEP, if you are HIV negative but at high risk for HIV. Call the NJ AIDS/STD Hotline at 800-624-2377 to find a counselor nearest you.
  • Adhering to HIV treatment regimens, if you are a person living with HIV/AIDS;
  • Using condoms consistently and correctly;
  • Avoiding sharing needles to inject fluids and practice harm reduction. Harm reduction services are available at any of the seven Harm Reduction Centers in NJ
  • Refraining from sharing needles for body piercing or tattoos.


For more information about New Jersey HIV services, visit: www.nj.gov/health/hivstdtb/hiv-aids/

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

Last Reviewed: 6/26/2020