Free HIV tests will be available in Pioneer Courthouse Square Saturday, Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., courtesy of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation "Testing America" Tour.
The six-month long, 48 state national cross-country HIV testing tour visits Portland as part of the city's 4th Annual Health Week.
Free testing is offered in the state-of-the-art 'Testing America' mobile HIV evaluation unit in conjunction with the Cascade AIDS Project , and the Multnomah County Health Department.
The 'Testing America' tour is part of a collaborative effort to raise local and national awareness about the importance—and ease—of HIV testing and to challenge attitudes about moving toward a streamlined model of HIV testing and counseling nationwide.
The AHF is on its second HIV Testing Tour across the country, after the successful completion of its recent and ambitious 14 city AHF Magic Johnson HIV Testing Caravan in mid-2009.
"Working with respected local partners including Cascade AIDS Project and Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, we plan on demonstrating just how easy HIV testing can be," said Azul Mares-Del Grasso, Field Services Manager, National HIV Testing Tour, AHF's Public Health Division. "At each stop along the way on this nationwide tour, we will host or participate in free mobile HIV testing events and media events to raise awareness about the importance and ease of testing."
"We're thrilled to be partnering with Multnomah County and AIDS Healthcare Foundation to get testing out to as many folks as possible," says Michael Anderson-Nathe, director of Prevention and Education at CAP. "It is not alright that over 20 percent of Americans living with HIV don't even know they are infected.
During the testing tour, AIDS Healthcare Foundation will also present $1,000 grants to each of the local partners AHF is collaborating with along the way. Throughout the course of the cross country HIV testing tour, HIV testing counselors will also supply a steady stream of updates, videos and images via new media: YouTube, Facebook and Twitter postings from along the route, interviews with local partners, government officials and, when appropriate and available, interviews with people who were tested on the mobile unit.
To learn how you can sign up to follow the 'Testing America' tour on these social media outlets, please visit www.freehivtest.net.
In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending routine HIV testing for all people ages 13-64, a recommendation that has not been widely implemented nationwide to date.
According to an HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation the CDC reports that:
-- There are approximately 1.1 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, more than 468,000 of whom are living with an AIDS-defining illness.
-- Among the 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, an estimated 21 percent do not know they are infected (down from 25 percent in 2003).
-- Many people with HIV are diagnosed late in their illness; in 2006, 36 percent received an AIDS diagnosis within one year of testing HIV positive.
-- 6,248 AIDS cases have been reported through 2007, according to the CDC.
-- An estimated 2,951 people are estimated to be living with AIDS.
For more information go to www.cascadeaids.org and at www.mchealth.org