In honor of National HIV Testing Day, June 27th, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) will be providing free walk-in HIV testing at its main clinic at 700 Fuller NE in Grand Rapids through June 28th. This testing will be available during regular business hours; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8:00AM until 5PM and Thursday 10AM until 6:30PM.
More than one million people in the United States are living with HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, 1 in 8 people who are infected with HIV don’t know it. Nearly 40 people are diagnosed with HIV in Kent County every year. The only way for a person to know their status is to test.
No appointment is necessary for the test which only requires a single drop of blood. 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.
“The CDC and KCHD both recommend that everyone know their HIV status,” says April Hight Public Health Program Supervisor at KCHD. “This knowledge is essential for getting helpful therapy and for protecting others from the virus.”
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 diseases. Left untreated HIV can develop into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome – AIDS – which can be fatal.
In addition to walk-in testing, Kent County Health Department is excited to announce that we will be adding a new service in late summer, PrEP! PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a medicine that a person who is at risk for HIV infection can take to help prevent the transmission of HIV.
During the free testing event people can find out if they are a good candidate for PrEP.
People who are unable to take advantage of this offer and would like to be tested, can make an appointment by calling 616-632-7171. More Information on HIV and AIDS can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/.