In recognition of National HIV Testing Day, June 27, First Lady Laura Bush acknowledged the need for wider screening, The Charlotte Observer reports (, 6/27).

In a question-and-answer session with Dr. Gary Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum and “Test for Life” campaign, the first lady noted rising infections among African-American and Latina women, who accounted for 82 percent of new HIV cases in 2006.

“African-American and Hispanic/Latino communities continue to face challenges in accessing health care, prevention services and HIV testing and treatment,” Bush said. “These figures also underscore the vital role of prevention and treatment education, as well as voluntary screenings.”

Regardless of demographic, Bush added, all Americans should know their HIV status.

“It’s important for people to be tested so that they know their status, and so that if they are HIV positive they can protect their loved ones by making healthy decisions to prevent the spread of HIV,” Bush said. “The good news today is that thanks to dramatic improvements in treatment and care, people are now living with HIV/AIDS—instead of waiting to die from it.”