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Planned Parenthood Offers FREE HIV Testing

FREE HIV Testing Offered June 27 at Albany and Troy Planned Parenthood Health Centers

Contacts

Blue Carreker, 518-434-5678, x133 or cell, 466-8500


Published: 06.23.11| Updated: 06.23.11

Marking National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood will host FREE HIV testing at their Albany and Troy locations to encourage sexually active women, men, and teens to get tested. Free HIV testing will also be offered at the UHPP Hudson center on June 29 and 30. Gift cards will be available for those who come in for testing.

"HIV and STI testing is now a routine healthcare service for everyone – not just for at-risk populations," says Rob Curry, UHPP's Sr. Vice President of External Affairs, who has been an HIV activist and educator for over 25 years. "National HIV Testing Day is a great reminder because early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and prevents new infections."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today there are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., including more than 290,000 women. Women of color are disproportionately affected, as are women under 40.

"HIV testing is for everyone, including women," said Curry. It is now a routine part of health care. Everyone should get tested. By providing Free testing on June 27, we are helping to ensure that cost is not a barrier."

In 2009, black women were diagnosed with AIDS at 23 times the rate of white women, accounting for approximately 64 percent new cases in the United States. Young women are also disproportionately affected, accounting for more than 60 percent of newly diagnosed HIV infections in 2006.

Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Vice President for Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America states that "HIV has a huge impact on women's health. But you don't have to give up sex to stay safe. You should discuss these issues with your partner, always use protection, and regularly get tested."

UHPP's FREE testing event is an extension of the national GYT ("Get Yourself Tested") campaign, a national effort to promote routine testing for HIV and other STIs among young people. Anyone can get tested on June 27 – National HIV Testing Day – by coming to UHPP's Albany health center at 855 Central Avenue in Albany between 8:30 am and 8:00pm or to the UHPP Troy health center at 200 Broadway (2nd floor) in Troy from 10:00am to 6:30pm. The UHPP Hudson center at 190 Fairview Avenue is only open two days per week and will offer FREE testing on Wednesday June 29 and Thursday, June 30 from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Go to www.uhpp.org for directions.

This year, UHPP worked again with community partners: the NYS Department of Health, Hudson Housing Authority, Columbia County Department of Health, Women's Health Project, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Trinity Alliance and AIDS Council of Northeastern New York. This coalition of organizations worked together to offer more than 30 free testing location from June 27th to June 30th in Albany, Columbia and Rensselaer counties. Each site is offering free, anonymous HIV testing using the oral swab rapid HIV test that provides results in 20 minutes. This year many testing locations are offering gift cards to people who have the HIV test.

"Thirty years into the HIV pandemic, it is important to realize that simply knowing your HIV status is one of the most important ways that you can take action to help eradicate HIV in our lifetime, says Rob Curry. We have made great progress through the promotion of comprehensive sex education, safer sex practices and advancements in HIV medicine, but HIV testing is crucial in helping reduce both transmission of HIV and deaths attributed to HIV-related illnesses . Unfortunately, too many HIV positive people are still unaware of their status, and do not discover their illness until it is too late to begin (HAART) therapy"

Currently, more than 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV and more than 200,000 people do not know. 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.

For more information, contact Blue Carreker at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood at 434.5678, ext 133.

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