National HIV Testing Day is Saturday, June 27, and AIDS Project Rhode Island is expanding its weekly free, anonymous, rapid HIV testing schedule to noon to 3 p.m. on that day on a walk-in basis at 9 Pleasant Street, Providence.
“We want to make it as convenient as possible to be tested, and our testers speak three languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese,” said AIDS Project Rhode Island executive director Stephen Hourahan. “Knowing your status is critical to preventing the spread of HIV and beginning treatment as soon as possible.”
The national theme of the day is “Take the Test. Take Control.”
AIDS Project Rhode Island weekly offers HIV (and Hepatitis C) testing on a walk-in basis Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Testing by appointment at any time is available by calling 401-831-5522 or emailing [email protected]
AIDS Project Rhode Island also tests at colleges and universities across the state on a regular basis.
The Rhode Island Health Department recently announced that the rate of newly identified HIV infections in Rhode Island increased by nearly 33% between 2013 and 2014. The department noted in a press release that “new cases of HIV/AIDS and infectious syphilis continued to increase among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men at a faster rate than in other populations. Infection rates of all STDS (sexually transmitted diseases) continued to have a greater impact on the African-American, Hispanic and young adult populations.”
HIV is the acronym that stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which leads to AIDS, an incurable disease that may be terminal, although in recent years treatments have improved the chances for a normal lifespan and a better quality of life. HIV is spread through sexual contact, sharing needles, and other activity where bodily fluids are passed.