Health officials gear up for National HIV Testing Day

More than 1-million people in the United States are living with HIV, and the CDC says, 1 in 8 of those people don’t know they have it.

Local health officials are hoping to change that by taking part in National HIV Testing Day.

They’re letting people get tested for free at health questions, no questions asked.

Human immunodeficiency virus, more commonly known as HIV is spread through bodily fluids, and attacks the white blood cells in our body’s immune system, and if left untreated, it can be fatal.

“We have the second highest incidence rates of HIV in the state,” says Health Officer for Ingham County, Linda Vail.

Vail says, when it comes to HIV cases in Michigan, Ingham County is at the top of the list. Just last year, more than 20 new cases were diagnosed.

“I think a lot of people are just afraid to know, and being in fear of knowing is actually worse than not knowing, especially if your positive,” says Vail.

If you are diagnosed with HIV, there are treatment options.

Nhoua Yang is a prevention specialist at Lansing’s Area Aids Network, she says, if taken properly, they can help clear the way for a healthier life.

But despite the new technology, Yang says, a stigma still exists.

“The way that HIV is noways, there’s not enough conversation about it, ” says Yang.

It’s important for people to know that you can’t contract HIV by sharing a room with someone. And she says, more times than not, patients are visiting health clinics to get tested for that very reason.

“You start to see small changes in people’s personal behavior, especially when they’re not well informed about HIV,” says Yang.

She says, it all boils down to this, when it comes to HIV, get yourself educated. Know how the virus can affect you, and lastly don’t shy away from getting tested, because it can be treated.

National HIV Testing Day is June 27, 2017. To get tested, head over to the Forrest Community Health Center at 2316 S. Cedar St, Lansing, MI 48910 from 8:30am-4pm.

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