Free HIV Testing in New Jersey

Free and low-cost testing locations near you.

New Jersey State is situated on the northeastern side of the United States. It has borders with New York and 130 miles of Atlantic coastline. The state is ranked as being the fourth-smallest state in the country. Despite the size, New Jersey is the 11th most populated state of the country, having a total population of 8.8 Million, according to the Census data.

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As per the population demographics, most of New Jersey's population is White Americans, with 59%. Hispanic or Latinos make up around 18%, followed by Black or African Americans (13%). 2% of New Jersey's population are Native Americans, Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and people belonging to other pacific islands.

New Jersey has been identified as the 9th biggest state by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2015, for having an active number of HIV patients. However, the number of newly diagnosed HIV patients is slowing down, considering the data from the last few years.

Why Testing Matters?

HIV rates in New Jersey have been an area of concern for some time as the state has been ranked 9th most populated in terms of having HIV active cases. According to the CDC data, the number of

HIV patients throughout the country during 2015 was 39,393. New Jersey HIV/AIDS Report, 2018 indicates that the state had 37,801 active HIV/AIDS cases. CDC Report on the State Health profile also showed that newly diagnosed cases of HIV among adults and adolescents in 2015 were 1,190. The numbers have reduced, considering the current data. The numbers declined to 1,025 new diagnosed cases in 2018.

Of the total numbers, 64% of People Living with HIV (PLWH) were males, while 32.4% were females.

In New Jersey, Black or African Americans have been disproportionately affected by the disease. Only 18% of the total population of the State is African Americans, yet, most of the HIV cases were those of Black Americans. Black Americans or African Americans accounted for 43.9% of the total HIV cases. 29.3% of cases were related to people having Hispanic backgrounds, while 18.9% of the patients were White Americans.

According to the CDC, every 1 in 7 individuals living in the United States has contracted HIV and isn't aware of it. And Even though there is a slight decrease in the numbers of newly diagnosed cases over the years, the State of New Jersey still has a long way to go to become HIV free. CDC recommends that adults and adolescents between the age group 13 to 64 years should get tested at least once in their lifetime. For people living in HIV populated areas, testing at least once a year should be made a part of the routine health checkup.

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Initiatives to prevent HIV in New Jersey

Considering New Jersey, HIV rates have decreased tremendously over the last decade. The percentage of reduction has been 39%. The number of new diagnoses of HIV has decreased from 1,722 cases in 2006 to 1,048 during the year 2017.

Individuals with a history of substance use disorder have always been at a higher risk of HIV. HIV is mostly contracted from using needles infected with contaminated blood, through sexual contact or the exchange of body fluids in any form. The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services dedicates an amount of $2.4 Million annually to help provide early intervention facilities to the individuals affected by substance abuse of any sort. As a part of their treatment plan, HIV testing services are provided to all individuals.

New Jersey HIV/AIDS Planning Group (NJHPG) is a collaborative program formed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the Division of HIV, STD, and TB services. NJHPG works towards the provision of the necessary care and treatment facilities to PLWH. The planning group combines all the existing planning bodies in the state working for the prevention and treatment of HIV.

NJHPG also uses external funding sources such as the Ryan White Part b program's funds, which is a countrywide initiative for HIV eradication. These programs also aim to educate and enlighten the general public about preventive measures and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Awareness sessions are also used to eliminate the stigma that is related to HIV and overcoming the health disparities in relation to HIV.

Different organizations are operational in State to provide the necessary support to HIV patients. Broadway House for Continuing Care is yet another organization that works towards the provision of healthcare services to PLWH. It has been operational since 1995 in New Jersey and is considered one of the specialized care centers for individuals affected by the virus. In addition to the healthcare services, Broadway house is also actively playing a role in the provision of educational, awareness, and rehabilitative services. Beacon Light Fund is another financial assistance program that helps fund medical supplies and healthcare services. The program directly allocates funds to people living with HIV who cannot afford proper treatment or other medical facilities needed.

HIV in New Jersey

According to the US Census Bureau, New Jersey has a total population of 8.8 Million, as recorded in 2018. The biggest ethnic group in New Jersey is White Americans (59%), followed by Hispanic or Latino (18%). Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians are present in minorities (2%) in New Jersey.

CDC has ranked New Jersey, 9th biggest state in regards to HIV prevalence. There has been a steady decline in the newly diagnosed cases in New Jersey during the last decade. During the year 2015, a total of 1,190 adults were diagnosed with the virus. The numbers reduced to 1,048 in 2017 and 1,025 in 2018. A total decline of 39% has been reordered from 2006 to 2017.

Age, Gender, and Ethnic Disparities

Considering the HIV data of the year 2018, 34,941 people were living with HIV in the State of New Jersey. The number of newly diagnosed cases during the same year was 1,025. Males have been affected more by HIV. According to statistics, 64% of the PLWH were males and 32.4% females. Most of the individuals with HIV were aged 55+ (43.7%), while 27% belonged to 35-55 years. 28% of the total diagnosis was that of young adults under 34 years.

One of the ethnic groups to be most affected by HIV was African Americans or Black Americans. Black Americans made up a total of 43% of the positive HIV cases. 29.3 % belonged to the Hispanic background, while the White Americans accounted for 18.9% of the total cases.

The report shows that the most popular transmission of the virus was sexual contact with an affected person. Most affected individuals contracted the virus from male to male or gay, sexual contact (57%).

The spread of the virus through injection drug use was around 20%, while 15% of HIV was spread through heterosexual contact.

There has been a significant decline in newly diagnosed HIV cases in New Jersey during the last decade. However, Black or African American remains most affected by HIV. According to the report, the rate of black males living with the virus was 8.2 times greater than white males. Similarly, the rate of black females living with the virus was 18.3 times greater than white females.

References

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Jun 04, 2021

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