COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is partnering with community-based organizations to sponsor HIV testing events this week in celebration of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7.
"We know that almost 10,000 African-Americans in our state are living with HIV/AIDS," said Janet Tapp, director of the agency's STD/HIV Division. "There are more, however, who have not yet been tested and don't know their HIV status," Tapp added.
"This annual observance gives us the opportunity to highlight the options of community-based HIV testing that we can offer," said Carmen Julious, executive director of Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, one of DHEC's HIV prevention partners in the Midlands.
Tapp said various tests will be offered throughout the state, including the traditional blood draw method and the rapid test, which provides preliminary results in less than an hour.
"The annual observance emphasizes the steps that individuals, families, agencies and communities can take together to make the greatest impact and reduce the stigma of testing," Tapp said. "Those steps include learning the facts about HIV, getting tested, becoming involved and helping to link people with HIV to treatment. All of these are ways to make a difference in your community."
For more information about National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day events, including local HIV testing sites, call DHEC's AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437).
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