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Free HIV Testing Day in Big Rapids on Dec. 2

Published: 11.16.10| Updated: 11.16.10

BIG RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) will host a Free HIV Testing Day in Big Rapids on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, to encourage men and women to get tested for HIV. The free testing opportunity is in recognition of World AIDS Day, which falls on Dec. 1. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five of the more than one million Americans living with HIV doesn’t know they have it. Testing and treatment can save lives and reduce the spread of HIV. 

“A person living with HIV can show no symptoms for many years. It’s possible for them to unknowingly pass the virus to their partner.” said Bridget White, PPWNM vice president of medical services. “So World AIDS Day is a great reminder to get yourself tested and know your status for sure. Thanks to this free offer, there are no excuses for putting it off.” 

Planned Parenthood in Big Rapids will hold free HIV testing by appointment on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at its offices located at 110 Sanborn Ave., Suite B. Call (231) 796-8612 to schedule a time slot. Testing is confidential, with results available in about 20 minutes. Test manufacturer Alere™ is graciously providing the complimentary tests. 

Early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available life-saving treatments. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they already have developed AIDS. That can be up to 10 years after they first became infected with HIV. Finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health, and the health of your partners and your family. 

“We want testing to become normal, something we just naturally do without worry of stigma,” said White. “Early detection is key to improving quality of life and reducing the risk of spreading infection to others.”

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Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan provides reproductive health care and sexuality education services with locations in eight Michigan cities. Learn more at www.ppwnm.org.

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