DPH partners with Walgreens for National HIV Testing Day
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Monday is National HIV Testing Day. The Department of Public Health (DPH) has partnered with Walgreens to provide HIV testing offsite. Testing is free at your local Walgreens or health care provider.
Even with several 100 tests done a month, many still do not know their status.
“So our testing program is a district-wide program. In the Southwest Health District, we cover 14 counties and across our district, we do several 100 tests per month. We want everybody to know their HIV status. So many people have never been tested and the CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 test at least once in their lifetime, possibly more depending on various risk factors,” said Infectious Disease Program Director Remy Hutchins.
There are multiple ways to get tested at your own comfort level. There are also several treatment plans for those diagnosed with HIV.
The state of Georgia has many cases of HIV. The Southwest Health District, which covers much of our viewing area, ranks the second highest compared to other health district regions in the state.
“So when we think about a new diagnosis of HIV, and across the state of Georgia, outside of the Atlanta metro area, the Southwest health district has the second-highest rate of HIV in the state,” said Hutchins.
Having healthy alternatives to fight HIV helps keeps you from being infected.
“(PREP) pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is a medication that someone can take to prevent HIV infections. It’s part of our toolkit our toolbox that we have to fight HIV,” said Hutchins.
Hutchins says that it’s free, fast, and confidential to get tested.
Remy says you can also get incentives, such as gift cards, by getting tested. She recommends getting tested at least once a year. To sign up for free testing in your area, click here.
to know about HIV
Here are some quick facts about HIV:
- In 2019, there were over 30,000 new diagnoses of HIV in the United States.
- The number of new diagnoses was the highest among people 25-34 in 2019.
- Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV.
- Black and Hispanic people are disproportionately affected by HIV, according to the CDC.
- The southern United States, Georgia included, had a 15.2% new HIV diagnosis rate in 2019.
- In the United States, HIV is mainly spread through sex and sharing syringes with someone who with HIV.
- HIV can be prevented through safe sex and prevention medicine like PrEP.
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