If you’ve been putting off an HIV/AIDS test, consider this: State health department statistics from the end of 2004 show that about three of every 1,000 Indianapolis residents have tested positive for HIV, and one out of every 1,000 Hoosiers have tested positive. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 1 million people in the United States are HIV positive, and about a third of those people don’t know.
To help prevent the spread of HIV and educate the public, the Marion County Health Department will participate in national HIV testing day, Monday, June 27, by waiving the normal $15 fee for HIV testing at three Indianapolis testing sites from June 27 to July 1.
In addition to HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis and drug-resistant gonorrhea, are on the rise in the area, according to Portia Duff, coordinator of the HIV/AIDS prevention program for the Marion County Health Department.
“It’s what we call the ‘Superman syndrome,’ which means people think, ‘It won’t happen to me. It’s them not us,’” Duff said.
Two of the testing sites — the HIV Anonymous Clinic (221-8307) and the Bell Flower STD Clinic (221-8300), both located at 1101 W. 10th St. — offer the OraQuick test, which takes approximately 30 minutes for counseling and results. The third site, the HIV/AIDS Outreach Program (221-4618 or 221-4619), located at 2951 E. 38th St., will offer the Western Blot test, which takes one to two weeks for results.
In addition to free HIV testing, all three sites will also offer free syphilis and hepatitis testing. There will also be incentives offered, such as the chance to enter a raffle for a 20-inch television upon receiving results (results must be obtained by July 20, raffle will be held July 22).
Planned Parenthood will also offer testing on June 27 at its Castleton location (849-9304), 8121 Center Run Drive, just south of Castleton Square Mall, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by appointment and will try to accommodate walk-ins. Planned Parenthood offers the Western Blot test for free (as it does year round), and the OraQuick test will cost $25.
Planned Parenthood offers testing throughout the year by appointment at various locations. Planned Parenthood also offers information about STD testing, HIV/AIDS education and condoms at a discounted rate at all Indianapolis locations.
For more information about getting tested for HIV/AIDS or other STDs, call the Marion County Health Department Outreach Program, 221-4618, or visit the Web site for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, www.ppin.org, the State Department of Health, www.in.gov/isdh/programs/hivstd, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov.