Pia Wurtzbach takes her first HIV test

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jun 22 2016 04:41 PM | Updated as of Jun 23 2016 09:54 PM

NEW YORK – Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach is stepping up her advocacy fight on HIV/AIDS awareness by doing exactly what she so strongly advocates for: taking an HIV test.

Wurtzbach is known for her advocacy for HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. But the Filipina beauty queen said she never tested for HIV before.

"I volunteered to be tested for HIV because I didn't know my status and I was curious. Now that I'm six months in my reign, I realized that it's about time that I have to get myself tested," she said.

Wurtzbach took the Alere 4th Generation HIV test at the Apicha Community Health Center in New York City. It's a confidential HIV anti-body test that uses only one drop of blood as sample with the results available in 20 minutes.

Over a million people in the US are living with HIV, and 1 in 8 people with HIV do not even know they are infected with the virus.

Erick Sawyer knows too well the importance of early HIV diagnosis. He has been living with HIV since the outbreak in 1981.

"I'm still alive more than three decades afterwards and part of the reason why is that I engaged in healthcare, I found out as soon as an HIV test was available that I was positive. I got access to the early clinical trials for HIV medication," he said.

Wurtzbach added, "The first step is to take control. Get yourselves tested. Know your status because the risk is in not knowing."

Her public test is meant to encourage more people to know their status and get tested on National HIV Test Day to be held around the US on June 27.

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