Washington has planned to launch a campaign to test every resident in the city aged between 14 and 84 for the HIV virus.
This unprecedented campaign considered to be the most comprehensive in the history of the Aids epidemic, is aimed at making HIV testing routine.
Several thousands of free oral testing kits will be supplied to doctors' surgeries and clinics to indicate a person's HIV status within 20 minutes. The program uses the motto "Come Together DC, Get Screened for HIV" and is planned to make all Washington DC residents know their HIV status by December 31 2006.
The city has reported the highest number of new infections, about 180 new cases of HIV per 100,000 residents each year, when the average equivalent figure for the US is only 15. It has been estimated that one in 50 Washington residents are infected.
According to Marsha Martin who is in charge of the program, "If we are serious about addressing this epidemic in our community then screening for HIV has to become routine. Because we'll miss too many people otherwise. We have to start making it part of the public consciousness, that HIV is of and among us."
The local Aids workers have expressed the need for more resources for counseling and treatment to go along with the awareness program. The national US Centers for Disease Control have reported that the saliva-based test, because of its speedy result, has encouraged people to get tested.
"It has enabled diagnosis of HIV in persons who might not have had their infections diagnosed otherwise," the researchers announced.