Athens, GA- Multiple groups from the Athens area united to offer free HIV testing in honor of the 27th World AIDS Day.
Nearly three hundred people turned out to get their mouth swabbed–a process that would normally cost a doctor’s visit and at least $15. This is just one of several ongoing efforts to identify and stop the deadly virus.
It is especially important for Athens-Clarke County, which reported a higher number of HIV cases than any surrounding county in 2013, according to the CDC. This coming from a state that ranks fifth nationally in reported HIV diagnoses per year.
That’s why groups like Safe Sex Ambassadors are emphasizing the importance of practicing safe sex. “They have resources available to them so there’s no reason to be having unprotected sex and putting themselves in danger”, Safe Sex Ambassador Chalis Snowden said of students and residents alike.
Catherine Lapka, Case Manager at AIDS Athens wants people to know that HIV is not as dangerous as it used to be, but is still very deadly without help. “It’s not the death sentence it used to be. People live really long healthy lives with HIV and they can have normal marriages, normal sex lives. It’s very important that people know there status and receive treatment”, Lapka said.
The Clarke County Health Department, UGA HEROs, UGA GLOBE, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were also event supporters.
For more information on HIV testing, you can visit the Get Tested page on the AIDS Athens website.
To get involved with sexual health awareness, visit the University Health Center’s Safer Sex Ambassadors.