Health department honors World AIDS Day with extra day of free rapid testing

More than 102 Livingston County residents are living with HIV. The Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) is honoring the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. World AIDS Day is recognized worldwide to raise awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education about HIV and AIDS. It is also a time to support those living with HIV and remember those who have died from the infection. This year’s theme is “Know Your Status.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are 36.7 million people living with HIV worldwide. Currently, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV. More than 16,000 Michiganders and 102 Livingston County residents are living with HIV. On average, HIV is spread to 50,000 people in the U.S. every year.

It is important to know your HIV status to reduce the risk of transmission to others, thankfully a lot people can now get a free hiv test. Treatment for HIV has improved. In many cases, treatment can make it so the virus is unable to be detected in your blood. When it is not detectable, HIV cannot be spread.

The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13-64 get tested for HIV at least once. Women who are pregnant should be tested to protect their health and to prevent the spread of HIV to their baby. Those with certain risk factors should be tested at least once a year; these risk factors include:

• People with more than one sexual partner
• People who have contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
• People who inject drugs
• Men who have sex with men

On Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, the LCHD is offering an extra day of free, confidential or anonymous rapid HIV testing from 1-3 p.m. Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. Test results are given within 20-30 minutes. To make an appointment or for questions about other testing days, call (517) 546-9850.

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