East Hawaii News

Thursday is National HIV Testing Day; Free Screening Offered

June 25, 2013, 10:14 AM HST
* Updated June 25, 4:13 PM
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Thursday is National HIV Testing Day, and the state Department of Health is doing its part by reminding the public about the free HIV screening it provides.

State health officials recommend that everyone from ages 14 to 64 have an HIV test.

“A person who knows their HIV status is less likely to engage in behavior that puts others at risk, can be started on HIV treatment which makes them less infectious to others, can be treated for STDs that increase the likelihood of transmitting HIV, and can be provided with prevention counseling and other support services,” said Peter Whiticar, chief of the DOH STD/AIDS Prevention Branch.

DOH provides free confidential HIV testing on all islands.

For information about HIV testing services on the Big Island, contact Peter Tuiolosega Silva of the STD/HIV Clinic at the Waiakea Health Center at 191 Kuawa St. in Hilo, at 974-4247 or via email at [email protected]

Testing at the Waiakea Health Center is always available on a walk-in basis on Mondays and Thursdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and from 1 to 4 p.m.

An alternative testing site is at Hawaii Island HIV/AIDS Foundation which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The foundation, which has sites in Keaau and Kailua-Kona, can be reached at 982-8800 or at www.hihaf.org.

In 2010, under the direction of President Obama, the US released its first-ever National HIV/AIDS Strategy. The NHAS served to redirect attention to the HIV epidemic that has killed approximately 600,000 people in the United States and continues to infect 56,000 people in the nation each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV and about 25% of this total, or 259,000 people, are unaware of their HIV infection.

For information on HIV/AIDS and access to testing in Hawaii visit the health department’s website.

Information on: National HIV Testing Day.

More information on: National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

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