National HIV Testing Day reminds each of us to do our part in fighting HIV/AIDS and get tested. It has been thirty years since we witnessed the emergence of HIV, an illness from which roughly 600,000 Americans have died and with which more than one million Americans live. After years of critical investments in research, prevention and care, we now have the tools to stem the spread of the disease and extend the lives of those Americans living with HIV. And for the first time, we have a comprehensive plan for addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our country.
Last July, my Administration released a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States which commits this nation to reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care for people living with HIV and reducing HIV-related health disparities. The Strategy's release came amid important scientific advances to help protect the health of people with HIV and prevent further transmission. One in five Americans living with HIV is not aware of their infection and this research highlights the imperative of making sure people know their HIV status and getting those who do have HIV into care.
All of us have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to know our status and reduce our risk. So on this National HIV Testing Day and every day, I encourage every American to join the fight against HIV/AIDS and get tested.