Several organizations are taking steps in order help people know their HIV status in light of the 2015 National HIV Testing Day, on Saturday 27th June.
A staggering 1.2 million people in the United States are HIV positive, and the number grows by 50,000 every year.
Three organizations in Columbus; The Better Way Foundation, the M-Power Project and New Horizons, want you to know your HIV status before it’s too late.
Their claim is that having just person who is infected by HIV is one too many.
“Twenty percent of people living with HIV don’t even know it their status. That 20 percent is responsible for 70 percent of all new infections,” said Jeremy Hobbs, president of Better Way Foundation.
Hobbs say those numbers are decreasing because of these testing events
Many people were coming in to get tested for the first time in their lives.
“I care about myself and my health and it’s always important to get your checked. As an African American male of 25 it’s always important to get yourself straight,” said Koriaie Davis.
HIV can only be transmitted from an infected person to another through direct contact of bodily fluids such as:
1. Blood (including menstrual blood)
2. Semen / Cum / Precum / Ejaculate.
3. Vaginal secretions.
4. Breast milk.
“If you have any doubt in your mind, had unprotected sex or used any type of drug come out here and get checked because you never know,” said Davis.
“I did that when I was in my twenties. There’s no telling how long I had AIDS before I actually found out I had AIDS,” said Hobbs.
The M-Power Project in Columbus works to provide prevention and education about HIV.
“You can’t treat someone less than human because they were diagnosed with something and you don’t know their story,” said Matthew Harper, of M-Power Project.
Harper’s organization is the first to help if you have been diagnosed positively.
“We linked them to care, make sure they get the services they need and for the ones who are negative, we do risk assessment,” said Harper.
CDC has recommended everyone to get tested for HIV routinely throughout their lifetime.
New Horizons who were providing the HIV test for free say you can still contact them anytime to find out how you can be tested for HIV.
The Columbus Health Department also offered free HIV testing at their location on Comer Avenue.