COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Free HIV testing is available today, June 27 on National HIV Test Day in Columbus and Americus, and no appointment is needed, says the Department of Public Health.

‘Take the test and take the next step’ is the theme for this year’s National HIV Testing Day.

Free testing is available in Columbus at Walgreens, 2510 Wynnton Road, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Prevention Services Program at the Columbus Health Department, 5601 Veterans Parkway, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and in Americus, at Walgreens, 733 E Forsyth Street, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Anyone testing will receive results quickly, and the entire testing process will take less than 15 minutes.  

Unfortunately, many people who have HIV don’t know they’re infected. “The only way to know for sure is to get tested,” says Stephen Chambers, HIV Prevention Coordinator, for the West Central Health District. “People who test positive for HIV can take medication to keep themselves healthy and to greatly reduce their chance of passing HIV to others, and if you are negative, you can prevent becoming infected.”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 gets tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.  

Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer and with a better quality of life than ever before.

For more information, visit CDC website or call Prevention Services in Columbus at 706-321-6426.