More than one million people in the United States are living with HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and one out of every seven don’t know they have the disease. In recognition of National HIV Testing Day June 27, 2018, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is offering free testing all week. The simple finger poke test can yield preliminary results in about 20 minutes. During that time our Personal Health Services certified counselors provide advice on protecting yourself and others from HIV.
Testing will take place Wednesday 8am – 4:30pm, Thursday 10am- 6:30pm and Friday 8am – 4:30pm at the Kent County Health Department’s main clinic located at 700 Fuller NE, Grand Rapids. People tested may also qualify for a free Hepatitis A vaccine.
“The CDC and the Kent County Health Department recommend that everyone know their HIV status,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “This knowledge is essential for getting helpful therapy and for protecting others from the virus.” Routine testing for individuals at risk can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of HIV. Treatment of HIV reduces HIV-related illness and reduces the spread of the virus. The CDC estimates that there are 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States every year.
HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, attacks the cells that make up the body’s immune system. HIV can make it difficult for an infected individual to fight off colds and other diseases. There are many medications available today that can strengthen the immune system. Left untreated HIV can develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome – AIDS – which can be fatal.
People who are unable to visit one of the testing events, can make an appointment by calling 616-632-7171. More Information on HIV and AIDS can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/.