Have you seen a sudden increase of red ribbon posters in the last couple of days for HIV tests in Japan? That is because June 1st through June 7th is National HIV Testing Awareness Week. Back in 2006, The Japanese health ministry started HIV test awareness campaigns in order to draw the public’s attention to the HIV/AIDS issue. During the first week of June, HIV Tests in Japan can be taken even after business hours on weekdays as well as during the weekend. During the awareness week, tests are readily available at public health centers, campaign posters can be seen in many public areas and free condoms are handed out.
The campaign poster commissioned by Toyohashi City in Aichi Prefecture became somewhat viral with what looks like a couple taken straight out of a teen-romance manga with the caption “Will you go for an AIDS test with me?”
If you want to, in the spirit of HIV Awareness Week, take an HIV test anonymously and for free at most public health centers. The centers usually offer these tests during the daytime on weekdays. If you are in Tokyo, you can for example be tested at the Tokyo Metropolitan Minami-Shinjuku Testing and Counseling Office. You need to call the them in advance (03-3377-0811) to make a reservation for a visit between 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 1 and 4:30 p.m. on weekends.
Another place where you can be tested for AIDS (also syphilis and chlamydia at the same time) is the Nishi-Shinjuku Public Health Center. No reservation is required and support in several languages is available.