One of the main subplots in the film “Reality Bites” follows Janeane Garafolo’s character, angsty Gen-Xer Vickie, as she gets an HIV test. This might not seem remarkable until you remember that the film was released in 1994, when HIV and AIDS awareness was still emerging.
Consider that the red ribbon that so many celebrities have taken to wearing on the red carpet was only conceptualized in 1991. We’ve come a long way since then, in terms of treatment options and public information, but there’s still a long way to go.
June 27 marks National HIV Testing Day, which is an annual campaign sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA). Founded in 1983, NAPWA is the nation’s oldest advocacy organization for those who live with the disease. The campaign urges us “take the test, take control,” and doing so has never been easier.
According to hivtest.org, “The most common HIV tests use blood to detect HIV infection. Tests using saliva or urine are also available. Some tests take a few days for results, but rapid HIV tests can give results in about 20 minutes.” Sinai Hospital’s ER-7 can provide free rapid HIV testing to members of the Northwest Baltimore community.
Though there is no cure for HIV or AIDS, there is hope for those who receive a diagnosis. The Women, Children and Youth HIV Program at Sinai Hospital is a valuable resource and ally for women and families struggling with HIV.
The first step toward empowering yourself and reclaiming your health is knowing your status.
- Laura Bogart
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.