Free, rapid HIV tests available Thursday

Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.

To commemorate National HIV Testing Day, the Alachua County Health Department is offering free rapid HIV testing (results within 15 minutes) from 5-8 p.m. Thursday at the health department headquarters at 224 NE 24th St. in Gainesville

The national campaign, in its eighth year, urges people to "Take the test, take control."

Nearly 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV, but an estimated 20 percent of people with the disease don't know they have it.

HIV is transmitted primarily through unprotected sex with an infected partner or through injecting drugs using an unsterilized needle. It can take up to three months after infection for HIV to show up on a blood test.

The health department is also offering free STD testing for chlamydia, hepatitis, syphilis and gonorrhea.

In observation of the day, people living with HIV who are taking part in a program called "Let's Talk About It," which is part of the Rural Women's Health Project. The members of the program have exhibits about living with HIV on display at local libraries.

The exhibits, on display from Thursday through the end of the month, are at the headquarters library downtown, the Library Partnership on Northeast 16th Avenue, the HealthStreet health clinic on Archer Road and the Alachua County Correctional Facility.

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