The Chemung County Aids Task Force is encouraging all County residents to get tested for HIV on June 27th - National HIV Testing Day. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. National HIV Testing Day is an annual campaign sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS to encourage at-risk individuals to take advantage of voluntary HIV counseling and testing.
The Chemung County Health Department and the Ivy Clinic at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, members of the Task Force, will be offering free, confidential or anonymous HIV testing at the Economic Opportunity Program (EOP) from 10am to 6pm at 650 Baldwin Street (Fifth Street Entrance). Test results are available in only 10 minutes.
It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. One in five people don't realize they are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. Even if you don't feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important: early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life.
"National HIV Testing Day is the perfect opportunity for people to learn more about HIV/AIDS and to get tested to know their HIV status," said Linda Swarthout, BSN and Public Health Educator with the Chemung County Health Department. "There are now more testing options than ever, including rapid testing. By educating people on prevention and helping people with HIV learn their status earlier so they can be connected to care sooner, we're helping to reduce the number of AIDS-related deaths."
"HIV testing is critically important to curtailing the epidemic because if people know they have HIV they can take appropriate steps to maintain their own health and prevent infection of others. Without being tested, they can unknowingly spread the infection and not get needed treatment," added Swarthout.
HIV testing is offered every Monday from 1pm to 3pm, Thursday's from 9am to 11am and 1pm to 4pm, and Friday's from 9am to 11am at the Chemung County Health Department, 103 Washington Street in Elmira. No appointment is necessary and the testing is either confidential or anonymous and is free to anyone age 12 and older.
Click here for a downloadable poster.