June 24, 2014
Free HIV testing available June 26-28
Minnesota Department of Health teams up with Walgreens for National HIV Testing Day observance
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and its HIV testing grantees have teamed up with Walgreens to offer free HIV testing in observance of National HIV Testing Day. Four Twin Cities metropolitan Walgreen store locations will offer HIV testing on one or more days between June 26 - 28, 2014 (3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday – see store locations and testing days listed at the end).
Of the estimated 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV, almost 1 in 6 are unaware of their infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We want people who are sexually active to get tested for HIV," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. "The earlier a person tests and gets into treatment if infected, the better the outcome."
Health officials noted that about one third of all new HIV infections reported in Minnesota are considered ‘late testers,’ meaning they are testing at later stages of their infection and missing the benefits of early treatment, including better health outcomes and longer lives. Those who receive treatment will help prevent the spread of HIV as well.
A total of 10,409 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported since MDH began tracking AIDS in 1982 and HIV in 1985. On average, 300 new HIV cases are reported to the department each year. An estimated 7,723 persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the state.
"Although there still is no cure or vaccine, HIV infection remains highly preventable," said Ehlinger.
According to health officials, the most effective means of stopping the spread of HIV is to avoid or delay sexual activity, decrease the number of sexual partners, always use latex condoms during sex, avoid sharing of needles or equipment used to tattoo, body pierce or inject drugs, and get into and stay in care if infected. Sexual and needle-sharing partners of HIV infected patients also need to get tested and treated.
HIV testing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that health providers screen all persons 13 to 64 years of age. Annual HIV screening is recommended for those at risk who have had unprotected sex, a new sexual partner, or shared needles or equipment to inject drugs.
To help curb the epidemic in Minnesota, the STD, HIV and TB Section at MDH currently funds 21 community-based programs and the Office of Minority and Multicultural Health funds 6 additional programs for HIV prevention and/or testing work.
Information about HIV and where to get tested is available from the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) AIDSLine, 612-373-2437 (Twin Cities Metro), 1-800-248-2437 (Statewide), 1-888-820-2437 (Statewide TTY), Text "AIDSLINE" to 839863, or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. MAP AIDSLine offers statewide information and referral services, including prevention education, HIV risk assessments, HIV testing and referrals to HIV testing sites.
National HIV Testing Day is an annual campaign to encourage people of all ages to "Take the Test, Take Control." More information about National HIV Testing Day is available on the MDH website at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hiv/testingday/index.html, and the CDC website at:
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Free HIV Testing Opportunities at the Following Walgreens Store Locations
June 26 - 28, 2014: 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and/or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday
• 7700 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park. HIV testing provided by Crown Medical Center. (NOTE: No testing on June 26 and 27)
• 2426 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. HIV testing provided by African Health Action and the Indigenous Peoples Task Force (NOTE: No testing on June 28)
• 2100 Lyndale Ave. S., Suite #A, Minneapolis. HIV testing provided by the Minnesota AIDS Project (NOTE: No testing on June 28)
• 2099 Ford Parkway, St. Paul. HIV testing provided by Face to Face and Open Cities (NOTE: No testing on June 27 and 28)