To promote early detection and help people in the community remain healthy, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) will be offering free HIV tests on Friday, June 27.
“More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and almost one in six don't know they are infected. You can’t tell by looking at someone if they have HIV — the only way to know is to get tested,” said Susan Merguerian, Director of Medical Services and Quality.
Rates of HIV remain a major concern in this country, particularly among young people and in specific communities. In the U.S., men who have sex with men, African Americans, and Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV. PPHP is offering the free testing in recognition of National HIV Testing Day. The service will be available during normal hours on a first-come, first-served basis.
Getting tested for HIV is quick, simple, and painless. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as fast as 20 minutes from just a swab inside the mouth. The kits are provided by the AIDS Health Foundation.
PPHP has 11 health centers that offer preventive services including HIV and STD testing. In 2013, PPHP provided more than 12,000 HIV tests for men, women and young people.
“Once you know your status, there’s a lot you can do to protect your health, including practicing safer sex,” Merguerian said. “And the sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get any treatment and information you might need, depending on the results.”
PPHP’s SmartWheels education and testing vehicle will also offer free testing at the Stop ‘n Shop parking lot at Portion Road and County Road 83 in Farmingville (call for times). On June 28, the vehicle will visit the EOC Resource Center in Wyandanch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
PPHP health centers are located in Huntington, Patchogue, Riverhead, Smithtown, and West Islip. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) or visit www.pphp.org.