On Thursday, June 27th, 2013 The Chatham CARE Center, offered free HIV testing at Wells Park in observance of National HIV Testing Day. Testing was done without the use of a needle and those tested was able to get results in about 20 minutes. A follow-up visit was scheduled for anyone who tests positive and counseling was made available to those individuals.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one out of five people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. is unaware of their HIV status. National Testing Day is an opportunity for people to learn of their HIV status and to gain knowledge to take control of their lives.
According to Katrina Howard a Communicable Disease Specialist with Coastal Health District, the coastal health district which incubuses Camden County south through Brunswick and up to Savannah “is seeing a rise in HIV/AIDS among younger people.”
HIV is a crisis in African American communities, threatening the health and well-being of African American men and women across the United States. While African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV and AIDS of any racial/ethnic group in the nation, prevention efforts have helped to maintain stability in the overall level of HIV infections among African Americans for more than a decade. Additionally, recent CDC data found indications of an encouraging decline in new infections among African American women. Still, African American heterosexual women continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of any other race or ethnicity, and young black gay and bisexual men now account for more new infections than any other group in the United States.
While Africans Americans represent approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, the latest CDC estimates show that they account for almost half of all new infections in the United States each year (44 percent) as well as almost half of all people living with HIV (44 percent). At a local level “the coastal health district ranks number 2 in the state for HIV/ AIDS infections,” says Howard.
In effort to combat this growing epidemic mass testing sites like this one are setup in majority urban populated areas and generally where the people are who are being affected. At a testing site like this one about 150 to 200 people come out and be tested. This a great thing for the community because that is one more person who knows there HIV/AIDS status an will be able to in the know and in control of there health.
For more information, please call 912-353- 3128 or 912-353-3276.