Several locations across Iowa are offering free or reduced-prices on H-I-V-AIDS testing today. Bryce Sitter, disease prevention/education coordinator for the central Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, says if you’ve never been tested before, you should go ahead, especially if you’re at risk.
Sitter says: "A person should consider a test if they’ve had any unprotected sex. If it’s a situation where a man had sex with men, if someone’s having unprotected sex with multiple partners, or their partner is an I-V drug user, or any person who’s had an S-T-D within the last three months should consider a test." He says your regular doctor can do an H-I-V test, but it’ll cost you upwards of 250-dollars.
As part of today’s National H-I-V Testing Day, Sitter says there are discounts being offered at a variety of facilities. He suggests: "Planned Parenthood, any county health department across the state, the AIDS Project of Central Iowa which is located in Des Moines, there’s also one in Cedar Rapids. And those agencies are subsidized so you can get the tests relatively cheap, anywhere from free to 20 or 30-dollars."
Sitter says this day offers an opportunity for people to learn their H-I-V status and to gain the knowledge they need to take control of their health — and their lives. He urges Iowans to get more than just the test.
Sitter says, "When someone gets tested, they should also consider counseling. You can go and buy a test and take it in the privacy of your own home but I really recommend someone gets tested and gets professional counseling done. One, to look at your behaviors that might have put you at risk, and also to assess that test result and then to take a look at your behavior.
What can you do to keep yourself safe?" He says about two-thousand Iowans are known to have tested positive. Nationwide, it’s believed some 250-thousand people are H-I-V-AIDS-positive and don’t know it.