SOURCE: Who's Positive

September 21, 2006 17:20 ET

National HIV Youth Organization Supports Revised CDC Recommendations on Routine HIV Screening in Health Care Settings

STATE COLLEGE, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 21, 2006 -- Half of all new HIV infections occur in youth. For this reason, Who's Positive supports the Center for Disease Control's revised recommendations on routine HIV screenings in health care settings.

As the face of a generation whose attention has veered away from HIV prevention and awareness, these recommendations made by the CDC will encourage and remind young adults the importance of empowering themselves to know their status, ultimately reducing HIV infections across the United States. "It was three years ago in a rural community; a place where HIV was never discussed that I found out I was HIV-positive. I applaud the CDC for taking these steps to encourage medical staff all over the U.S. to voluntarily ask for routine HIV testing; this is a step we should have taken many years ago. The coming of these recommendations in my opinion come too late for me but certainly can help educate, test and ultimately prevent additional infections across the United States," says 27-year-old, Tom Donohue, founder and executive director of Who's Positive, a national HIV awareness organization dedicated to reducing and preventing HIV infection rates among youth through first hand accounts of young adults living with HIV.

Who's Positive supports these recommendations and will take its own steps promoting HIV testing side by side HIV testing counselors across the United States in a mission called OPERATION: GET TESTED; Infected, Affected; Real Stories, Real People. Beginning on Oct. 15, six HIV positive youth (ages 18 to 26) will board a 45-foot, 12-person sleeper tour bus to embark on a 48-day trip, ending on Dec. 1 -- World AIDS Day -- traveling from New York to California, stopping at 34 high schools and colleges in 25 states. The trip will humanize HIV through personal accounts of young adults living with HIV while also working with agencies at each tour stop to provide free HIV testing. "This is an approach to HIV testing that is unheard of; you combine personal accounts of young adults living with HIV with opportunity for peers to be tested, and you'll get thousands of young adults knowing their status," Donohue says.

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