Tuscaloosa clinics encourage getting HIV tests

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By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Johnson

National HIV Testing Day is June 27, and the Alabama Department of Public Health took Monday as a chance to remind residents that testing is important.

According to the 2019 State of Alabama HIV Surveillance Annual Report, 1 in 5 people in living with HIV in Alabama don’t know they’re positive.

That’s why several health clinics in Tuscaloosa hosted events Monday offering free testing.

“Today we are hosting our second annual Ready Set Prep rally in commemoration of national HIV/AIDS testing day,” said Whatley Health Services Program Manager of Infectious Disease Services Marquetta Campbell. “It’s a national day that’s been recognized since 1995 and we have been recognizing that day since, so we are encouraging everyone to come out and get tested.”

Campbell said events like these help stop the stigma behind HIV.

“What’s really important about this is not only our services but we are open to the community, not only Tuscaloosa but also West Alabama and the rural community,” said Five Horizons Health Services Outreach Specialist Iyana Diaz. “The whole point of this is to let the community know that we are here, we are a safe space. Not only do we service them as far as medical needs and any behavioral health issue they might have, but we are also a safe space, an open ear and a present face in the community.”

Those who are positive for HIV have many options for treatment that can slow or halt the transmission or progression of the virus. There is no cure for HIV, but it can be controlled with medication and regular health care checkups. People in sexual relationships with someone who is HIV-positive also have medication options that can cut down the potential for transmission.

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