Free HIV Testing on World AIDS Day - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/01/06 - Lufkin

Free HIV Testing on World AIDS Day

by Ramonica R. Jones

African-Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, but more than half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women around Jamie Washington's age, 25-34. That's why she got tested.

"I'm not really nervous," said Washington. "I'm just doing it because I do need to know. I haven't been tested before, so I do need to know. It's just important because that's something that everyone should just get done."

Planned Parenthood in Lufkin offered free testing in observance of World AIDS Day and, with quick and easy testing available, there's never an excuse for anyone not to know their HIV status.

Spokesperson Michelle Green said, "The test itself is an oral swab. There are no needles. There's no pricking of the finger. It's simply an oral swab that collects the cells inside the mouth. Results will be ready in about 30 minutes."

That's especially convenient for the college students that spoke with the East Texas News just after they'd taken the test. Waiting for the results is the hardest part of getting tested, but knowing is worth it.

Rafael Fields said, "Although I didn't think I had it - but we all don't think we have it - it's just good to know and find out. I've been tested before. It's just time to get tested again."

Each year, about 40,000 Americans are newly infected with HIV.

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