By The Charleston Chronicle
So far this year, nearly 1,000 people have taken advantage of free HIV testing at Palmetto Community Care. If that trend continues, the nonprofit is on pace to have its biggest testing year ever. Over the last two years, Palmetto Community Care has expanded its prevention, outreach and testing services with the addition of more staff, a mobile testing van and expanded free testing hours.
To further encourage the community to get a free HIV test, Palmetto Community Care will host several special testing events around National HIV Testing Day on June 27. This is a national effort aimed at encouraging people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and get linked to care and treatment. The 2019 theme is “Doing It My Way.”
Palmetto Community Care will be offering free HIV testing at the following events:
- Thursday, June 27: 8 p.m. to midnight at Dudley’s Adult Queer Prom, 42 Ann St. in downtown Charleston
- Thursday, June 27: 3-7 p.m. Walgreens, 1861 Remount Road in North Charleston
- Saturday, July 6: noon to 5 p.m. at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 7396 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston
Of the almost 1,000 people Palmetto Community Care has tested so far this year, 10 have tested positive for HIV. In 2018, Palmetto Community Care tested almost 1,700 people for HIV, recording 23 new HIV-positive cases. That number was up from 20 new HIV-positive cases in 2017.
About 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Getting tested for HIV and STIs is quick, easy and convenient, especially with all our community events coming up,” said Adam Weaver, prevention program manager. “The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested and continue to get tested regularly. If it has been more than six months since your last test, it is time to get tested again. We are here to help you know your status and to get the help, services, prevention tools and care that you need for your sexual health.”
Palmetto Community Care offers free, confidential testing for HIV as well as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis at its office located at 3547 Meeting Street Road in North Charleston. Testing hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. No appointment needed. Free condoms are also available. Learn more at palmettocommunitycare.org.
This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle.