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San Diego Marks National HIV Testing Day

Public health officials say National HIV Testing Day serves as a reminder for everyone to get tested for the virus.

— As the nation marked National HIV Testing Day, San Diegans were offered free tests at a drug store in North Park. It's part of an ongoing effort to make HIV testing more widespread.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

The project called Lead the Way offered free testing to mark National HIV Testing Day.

The project called Lead the Way has tried to get as many people tested for HIV as possible in two mid-city zip codes. It offers tests at a storefront in Hillcrest, and has sent crews out door-to-door offering rapid HIV tests on the spot.

Project manager David Rodriguez said since the effort started in 2011, they've tested 1,700 people. But he said interest seems to be waning.

"There's kind of this feeling around the community that HIV is getting better, that not as many people are getting infected, that it's kind of over, there's new medication, 'I don't need to worry about it as much.' And that's not really true," Rodriguez said.

Between 2009 and 2011, 1,020 San Diegans tested positive for HIV. More than one million Americans are living with the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of five people with HIV don't know their status.

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