Last year, 22 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Ingham County, which is the second highest HIV prevalence rate among local health departments in Michigan. Currently, there are 500 people living with HIV in Ingham County.
In a way to curb and promote safety and awareness, Ingham County Health Department is hosting a free community HIV testing event. The event started at 8 a.m. and goes to 3:30 p.m. at Forest Community Health Center located at 2316 S. Cedar Street.
“In the U.S., 1 out of every 8 people infected with HIV doesn’t know it,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “This is a problem because early diagnosis and treatment reduces the risk of transmission and helps those who are HIV positive live longer and healthier lives.”
According to the department, everyone tested on World AIDS Day will receive a free gift card, and they will also attend a personal consultation where they can discuss their risk factors and ways to reduce the risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. No appointments are needed for testing.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as of May 2016, 17,660 people were estimated to be living with HIV in Michigan, with just under half whom have a diagnosis of AIDS.
According to the MDHHS, 57 percent of those infected are African-American, 34 percent are White, 5 percent are Hispanic, 1 percent are Asian/Pacific Islander and 4 percent are other or of an unknown race. Seventy-seven percent of those infected are males, and 23 percent are females.
The MDHHS will also be hosting events throughout Michigan with the aim to realize the vision of a world with zero new HIV infections and offer an opportunity to further inform and raise public awareness about HIV/AIDS and the importance of halting the spread of the virus.