FRANKFORT, KY (June 11, 2009) - In honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is promoting routine HIV testing and awareness. The campaign will run during June in Kentucky to encourage as many people as possible to get tested and know their HIV status.
"Being aware of your risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and knowing your status is extremely important in our effort to protect the health of our fellow Kentuckians," said Sigga Jagne, manager of the DPH HIV/AIDS branch. "People who are unaware they are infected with HIV are responsible for transmitting the virus to the majority of the estimated 56,300 Americans who are newly infected each year. We have to start reversing this trend."
The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate is that one out of five people living with HIV in the U.S. is unaware of his or her HIV status. The CDC estimates that someone is newly infected with the HIV virus every 9.5 minutes in the U.S.
"Stigma related to HIV/AIDS remains common and is a major reason many people do not seek or receive testing," said Jagne. "We hope to change this by encouraging Kentuckians to take advantage of the many free testing opportunities held around the state this month."
CDC recommends routine HIV screening for all people age 13 to 64.
People who are at a higher risk for infection should be tested at least annually. People at high risk include those with multiple sex partners or whose sex partners have multiple sex partners, injection drug-users and their sex partners, people who exchange sex for money or drugs, men who have sex with men, and sex partners of someone with HIV.
"Following the CDC initiative to incorporate HIV testing into routine clinical care, we are encouraging all hospitals, clinics and private physicians to join this year's campaign," Jagne said.
Health care staff is advised to discuss sexual health and substance use with patients to determine if an HIV test is appropriate and, if possible, provide the service. When testing is not feasible in private health care settings, providers are encouraged to refer patients to local health departments or other public health partners where testing can be provided free or at minimal cost.
Numerous events providing HIV rapid testing will take place around the state throughout June, including:
− 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 11-12, Laurel County Health Department, 525 Whitley St., London (in partnership with Cumberland River Comprehensive Care).
− Noon to 4:30 p.m., June 20, Bracktown Baptist Church, 3016 Bracktown Road, Lexington.
− 4 to 8 p.m., June 25, Western Kentucky University Academic Complex, Bowling Green.
− 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 26, Cherokee Park, Louisville.
− 3 to 7 p.m., June 26, Volunteers of America, 1400 N. Forbes Road, Lexington.
− Regular clinic hours, June 26, Matthew 25, 452 Old Corydon Road, Henderson.
− 1 to 4 p.m. June 26, testing provided on a walk-in basis at the Boone County Health Department, 7505 Burlington Pike, Florence; Kenton County Health Department, 2002 Madison Ave., Covington; Campbell County Health Department, 12 E. Fifth St., Newport; and Grant County Health Department, 234 Barnes Pike, Williamstown.
− 8 to 9:30 a.m., 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., June 26, and noon to 2 p.m., June 27, First United Methodist Church, 200 W. High St., Lexington.
− 4 to 6 p.m., June 27, Lane Chapel CME Church, 125 Lynn St., Covington.
− 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., June 27, Peter J. Noll Community Center, 400 W. Sixth St., Newport.
− 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 27, third floor of the old courthouse, 215 W. Main St., Lexington (in conjunction with the Lexington Pride Festival).
− 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., June 27, Equals Bar, 1006 E. Fourth St., Owensboro.
− June 27, AVOL, 263 N. Limestone St., Lexington. Additional HIV testing sponsored by AVOL will be available throughout the day at the following locations: Chrysalis House, University of Kentucky Martin Luther King Culture Center and the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program. Contact Angel Clark at (859) 225-3000 for details.
− 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 29, Larue County Health Department, 215 E. Main St., Hodgenville.
HIV testing is a key component in controlling the spread of infection. Early intervention and life-saving treatment are available for those who test positive for the virus as well as support, counseling and other services to help ensure a better quality of life and to prevent transmission of the virus to others.
Meanwhile, additional educational information and identification of risk factors are available for people who receive a negative HIV test. Public health's statewide network of HIV testing sites, which includes local health departments and community-based organizations, provide risk reduction counseling and assist patients/clients in developing a behavior-change plan to reduce risk of getting infected themselves or infecting others with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
For more information about the National HIV Testing Day/Month Campaign or other programs and services, contact Tom Collins of the HIV/AIDS branch at (502) 564-6539, ext. 3559, or Tommy.Collins@ky.gov