Panhandle Health District
8500 N. Atlas Road
Hayden, Idaho 83835
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: November 19, 2012
Contact: Released by: Lora Whalen, Director
Public Information Officer
(208) 818-7288 (cell)
Free HIV Testing Available for World AIDS Day
Panhandle Health District (PHD) will provide free Rapid HIV testing in early December in recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1.
The number of tests is limited so appointments are necessary. Free tests will be available on Monday Dec. 3 in:
PHD Hayden – 8500 N. Atlas Rd.; 415-5270
PHD Sandpoint – 1020 Michigan; 263-5159
PHD St. Maries – 137 N. Eighth; 245-4556
PHD Kellogg – 114 Riverside, 786-7474
PHD Sandpoint will also have testing available by appointment on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Thursday, Dec. 6.
The rapid HIV test is similar to a pregnancy test, using blood from a finger stick instead of urine. It provides results in about 15 minutes. If test results are positive, blood will be drawn from the patient for a second test for confirmation.
As of the end of 2011, 66 people in the five northern counties were living with HIV and 88 were living with AIDS. Four were diagnosed with HIV in 2011 and two were diagnosed with AIDS.
Early detection reduces the potential that a patient may unknowingly spread HIV.
“The more people who test and take care of their health, the better,” said Lisa Cramer, who coordinates PHD’s sexually transmitted disease and HIV programs. “Studies show that people who know they’re HIV-positive take more precautions.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in five people living with HIV today are unaware that they’re HIV-positive. The CDC recommends that people from age 13 through 64 include an HIV test in their annual physical exams.
HIV is passed on through contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk of an infected person. Unprotected sex with an untested partner places a person at high risk of HIV exposure. Sharing syringes and needles can expose a person to blood infected with HIV. Infected women can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
A long-term monogamous sexual relationship with a tested partner is the best prevention to HIV exposure. Latex condoms and not sharing syringes and needles also offer some protection. People may be infected with HIV and not know it. HIV infection doesn’t exhibit visible signs and it may take years to develop into AIDS. Only an HIV test can confirm that a person is not infected.
For information on HIV testing and counseling, visit www.phd1.idaho.gov.