Hempstead, NY—Marking National HIV Testing Day on June 27, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC) will host free testing for HIV and other STDs to encourage women, men, and teens to get tested.
The free testing event is an extension of the GYT (“Get Yourself Tested”) campaign, a national effort to promote routine testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among young people. People can get free testing on June 27 — National HIV Testing Day — by coming the Hempstead Bus Terminal from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. During that time, PPNC, in conjunction with the Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC), will be providing free HIV testing on the Plan Van, which will be parked on West Columbia Street between the LIRR Hempstead Station and the bus terminal.
Free or low-cost HIV testing will also be available on National HIV Testing Day at PPNC’s Hempstead health center at 540 Fulton Avenue from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. or the Massapequa health center at 35 Carmans Road from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
“HIV and STD testing is now a routine health care service for everyone—not just for at-risk populations,” said JoAnn D. Smith, PPNC’s President & CEO. “National HIV Testing Day is a great reminder that 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 PPNC’s Senior Vice President for Health Services, Nancy O’Keefe. “It is now a routine part of health care. Everyone should get tested regularly. By providing free testing on June 27, we are helping to ensure that cost is not a barrier.”
In 2009, African-American women were diagnosed with AIDS at 23 times the rate of white women, accounting for approximately 64 percent of new cases in the United States. Latinas experienced 18 percent of female AIDS diagnoses, whites 15 percent. Overall, women under 40 accounted for more than 60 percent of newly diagnosed HIV infections in 2006.
“HIV has a huge impact on women’s health,” said Ms. O’Keefe. “You should discuss these issues with your partner, use protection, and regularly get tested.”
Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC) is one of 89 affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and operates 3 health centers in Nassau County. In 2010, PPNC provided services to more than 13,000 patients during 26,000 visits. We conducted education workshops and street outreach to 28,000 teens and families, and mobilized approximately 5,500 advocates to protect reproductive health care rights. PPNC has served the community for 78 years, and is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals to make responsible choices regarding their sexuality and sexual health. For more information about PPNC’s services and programs, visit www.ppnc.org.