June 27, 2007
Thursday afternoon, at several spots around Charlottesville, people can get free and confidential HIV testing.
It is part of National HIV Testing Day, where the theme is "Take the Test, Take Control." The testing is offered by the Charlottesville/Albemarle Health Department and UVA's Ryan White Program.
The test is a mouth swab, and the results come back in just twenty minutes. The goal is to identify people who are HIV positive and don't know it. This way, they can be treated and stop unknowingly spreading the disease.
"The whole point of the new CDC guidelines is that everyone between the ages of 16 an 64 get tested, because we don't always know that a past partner or activity has actually put us at risk for HIV," stressed health counselor Nick Mattsson.
Last year, more than 1,400 people in Virginia tested positive. In the state, a quarter of the people who are HIV positive don't know it.
If you want to get tested, the Health Department at 1138 Rose Hill Drive is offering testing from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Region Ten's Fourth Street Station will have testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The AIDS/HIV Services Group will provide testing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will also provide testing and an information table on the Downtown Mall from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.