In lead up to National HIV Testing day on June 27, POSSE is teaming with Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, to encourage community members to know their HIV status and take advantage of free HIV testing.
- Thursday, June 25 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday, June 26 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, June 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
POSSE will provide trained counselors to conduct the testing and will provide results on-site within minutes.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that all Americans be screened for HIV as a routine part of medical care, many Americans have never been tested or are not being tested as often as recommended, according to national surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Of the more than 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S., an estimated one in seven do not know that they are infected and only three in 10 are in ongoing care and treatment.
During 2013, 69 new diagnoses of HIV infection were reported. As of December 31, 2013, an estimated 1,385 individuals were living with HIV infection in Forsyth County. Sixty two percent of the HIV infection cases diagnosed in 2013 were among Non-Hispanic African Americans. 4
“These staggering numbers represent real lives of real individuals in our community who are living with a preventable and treatable infection. POSSE’s mission is to ‘prevent’ the spread of infection within our community by providing education, counseling, testing and referrals,” said Jennifer Nall, POSSE supervisor. “By taking testing into the community, POSSE is able to reach those who may not be able to access services at the health department. We want everyone to know their status. Knowing your status means you have the opportunity to live a healthy life whether you’re HIV positive or negative.”
“Walgreens is committed to being a part of the solution to end AIDS, and National HIV Testing Day provides a great opportunity to help share critical health information and encourage HIV testing,” said Glen Pietrandoni, senior director of virology, specialty products and services at Walgreens. “Working in collaboration with Greater Than AIDS and various community partners during the past four years, we have helped nearly 20,000 people across the country access free testing. We are pleased to be able to continue to help make it easier for those in the communities that we serve to know their status.”
“We have come so far in our understanding of HIV,” said Tina Hoff, senior vice president and director of health communication and media partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Today, there are very effective treatments that not only help people with HIV to enjoy long, healthy lives but also significantly reduce the chances of passing the virus to others.3 Knowing one’s status is a crucial first step.”
I Got Tested: What’s Next?, a new 8-page informational guide from Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens will be distributed at the testing events in June.
For a complete list of participating Walgreen locations and supporting partners, as well as more information about HIV testing, visit www.greaterthan.org/walgreens.