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Minnesotans Urged to Test for HIV Today

June 27, 2007

This is "National HIV Testing Day, designed to encourage regular check-ups. Colleen Bjerke with the Minnesota AIDS Project says knowledge and education are the best tools for prevention and treatment.

“When people know their status, it helps prevent them from infecting anyone else. It also can allow them to get into treatment early. And, we know that when people get treated early for HIV, they stay healthier, they are able to manage their disease better.”

She notes that although current treatments allow those with the disease to lead normal lives, early detection is still critical. State health officials say about 5,500 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, and more have the virus but don't know it.

There are more Minnesotans than ever living with HIV.

“The number of new infections has maintained pretty steady over the years, although the total number has increased because there are some effective medications, and people have learned how to manage their HIV better, so people tend to be living longer.”

Bjerke encourages anyone who needs information on medical services, including clinics offering free testing, to call the statewide AIDS hotline at 800-248-2437.

More information is available online at and

Jim Wishner/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MN