Feb. 7, 2019, is the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – a day dedicated to outreach and education about the disproportionate impact HIV and AIDS has among African Americans.
Swope Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wants you to have an opportunity to get tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Swope Health offers HIV/AIDS testing as part of routine healthcare. On Feb. 7, we will have a special table set up in the lobby at Swope Health Central to talk with clients and encourage testing.
“We recommend HIV/AIDS tests for everyone – adolescents and adults,” said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Chief Medical Officer at Swope Health. “Once you know your status, you have the power to take steps to improve your health. Plus you help us prevent the spread of the disease.”
According to the CDC, in the United States, about 1.2 million people have HIV, and a disproportionately high number of that total – 40 percent – are African Americans. Further, about 14 percent of people with HIV are unaware they have the disease.
People infected with HIV can unknowingly spread the disease to partners and may need medical care for their own health. That is why testing is so important.
There are several types of tests available, but the most common examines a sample of blood for the presence of antigens or antibodies as a reaction to the virus. Most labs offer this routine test, or a rapid-screening version.
At Swope Health, if your test comes back negative, you can be confident you do not have HIV. If the rapid test is positive for antibodies, Swope Health providers recommend a confirmatory lab test to verify. With a positive test, your provider will talk with you about treatment options and will refer you to our partners at KC Care Health Clinic.