DHEC offering free HIV/STD testing for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is offering free testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases in recognition of National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Testing will be offered at several public health departments on Feb. 7, DHEC wants South Carolinians to take advantage of the free testing in order to know their status when it comes to STDs.
“In 2019, African Americans accounted for 66 percent of the total number of people living with HIV in South Carolina even though they make up only 27 percent of the state’s population,” said Ali Mansaray, DHEC’s director for the Division of STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis. “This national observance day is an opportunity to reduce HIV stigma and lessen the HIV burden in black communities through education and testing.”
1,495 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina according to DHEC. Of the newly diagnosed, 62% were African American, 24% were White, and 7% were Hispanic.
In addition to recognizing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, DHEC wants to reduce the impact HIV and STDs have on Black communities:
- Supporting community-based HIV prevention services that specifically target African American men with funding, education, training, and outreach activities.
- Offering HIV self-tests so residents can test in the comfort of their homes, thus reducing stigma they may experience with going to a clinic for HIV testing.
- Providing an enhanced discharge planning program with the South Carolina Department of Corrections to reduce recidivism for African Americans and others living with HIV.
- Implementation of a successful program to re-engage African Americans living with HIV and who are not in a system of care to remain connected to HIV treatment and care services.
During the testing, you will be screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Results will be available within five to seven business days.
You can schedule a free HIV/STD testing appointment on Feb. 7 by calling the DHEC’s AIDS/STD hotline at 1800-322-AIDS or by visiting DHEC’s service locator here.
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