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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2010

National HIV Testing Day events set

COLUMBIA – Events will be held throughout South Carolina the week of June 21 in observance of National HIV Testing Day, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, which gives us the opportunity to highlight DHEC’s low-cost HIV testing services that are offered routinely at DHEC’s county public health departments across the state,” said Tony Price, Prevention Program manager for DHEC’s STD/HIV Division. “In addition, DHEC’s community-based partners will offer the rapid HIV test, which shows preliminary results within an hour, at no charge.

“We are pleased about the increasing options for HIV testing in community-based settings over the past several years because it provides greater access for people to know their HIV status,” Price said. “Testing is the first step in connecting affected people to appropriate care, which includes treatment and prevention services.

“DHEC encourages all people to learn their status and gain access to the most appropriate system of care if they are infected,” Price said. “Some might delay getting tested until they become ill with HIV. However, it is very important not to delay. Health providers urge early testing so treatment can begin before people are too sick to benefit from it.”

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and approximately 230,000 of them are unaware they are infected with the virus. DHEC statistics show more than 15,000 people living with HIV in South Carolina.

For more information about HIV testing events and sites near you, call DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437). For more information, visit DHEC’s STD/HIV Web pages at: http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv/.

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For more information:
Jim Beasley – (803) 898-7769
E-mail – beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov
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