COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A day ahead of June 27, National HIV Testing Day, Georgia’s West Central Health District’s Department of Public Health (DPH) will be hosting a free drive-thru testing event on June 26. The national holiday is in place to encourage everyone to get tested and know their HIV status so those diagnosed with the disease can create a plan for treatment.
This is why Georgia’s West Central Health District DPH’s Public Information Officer Pamela Kirkland said they’ll be holding the drive-thru testing event.
“At the health department we’re having a drive-thru event where people can come in and find out what their HIV status is and it only takes a few minutes they don’t have to get out of their car it’s very fast, convenient it’s confidential.” said Kirkland.
The Saturday June 26 event will be held at DPH’s Veterans Parkway location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kirkland encourages everyone, including people who are not at high risk or don’t believe they’ve contracted the disease but have never been tested, to come get a rapid HIV test just to be certain.
“The CDC recommends that everyone between 13 and 64 get tested at least once to know their HIV status and it’s so important now because people have just been inundated with COVID-19,” said Kirkland. “And that’s all we’ve been thinking about, talking about and hearing about but we don’t want people to forget that it’s very important to know their HIV status as well.”
Kirkland explained that although knowing your status could be intimidating or scary it’s imperative so you can create a plan for treatment.
“If you test positive, then we can get you started on medication that will help you be healthy and live a better life,” said Kirkland. “And also support, we have peer support, nutrition support, just emotional support that you might need finding out you’re HIV positive. If you’re HIV negative and you’re in a high risk relationship then we have medication called PREP and that will help you reduce your chances of contracting HIV from your partner.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the latest research shows 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV and 14% or one in seven of them did not know they had it before testing positive.
The flier with the event information can be found below.