Some 23-hundred Iowans are known to have H-I-V yet several hundred more likely have the virus that causes AIDS but don’t know it. Tuesday is National H-I-V Testing Day and free AIDS and hepatitis tests are being offered in several cities, including Des Moines. Rhea Van Brocklin is prevention services coordinator at the AIDS Project of Central Iowa, which is sponsoring the free testing.
Van Brocklin says it’s a painless test, an oral swap is used in the person’s mouth to test for the H-I-V antibodies in their cheek and gum cells. Confidential results will be available in about two weeks. To promote the event, she says there will be an awareness walk, a tent with a D-J, and a drawing for 100-dollar gift certificates from a local mall for everyone who gets tested on Tuesday.
Van Brocklin explains just who should be tested for H-I-V. She says you should learn your H-I-V status if you’ve had unprotected sex or had multiple partners in the past year, or injected drugs or shared needles. Van Brocklin says AIDS is a non-discriminatory disease — it’s not who you are but what you do that puts you at risk. For more information, surf to “www.aidsprojectci.org”.