The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center (LCHD/CHC) along with community partners is launching the "Step Up, Get Tested" campaign to prevent new HIV infections and reduce the number of undiagnosed individuals in observance of National HIV Testing Day on Thursday, June 27.
On June 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Health Department will hold a health and resource fair on the front lawn of the Belvidere Medical Building, 2400 Belvidere Rd., Waukegan (near the corner of Belvidere Road and Keller Avenue). In addition to free food and children's activities, free HIV testing is available for anyone 13 years of age and older. HIV testing is done using an oral swab. Results are available within 20 minutes. Information about hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections will also be available.
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"National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity to raise HIV awareness in our community, make more people aware of their HIV status, and to link individuals living with HIV to appropriate medical care," said Tony Beltran, the Health Department's Executive Director. "HIV is a preventable disease. For those living with HIV, it is a manageable disease with the best outcomes when it is detected early and patients receive proper medical care."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1.1 million people ages 13 and older in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 5 HIV positive people are unaware of their infection. There are about 50,000 new HIV infections per year in the U.S. The CDC recommends that HIV screening be a part of routine medical care, such as blood pressure checks or cholesterol tests. However, many individuals still have not been tested for HIV. Current guidelines recommend routine HIV screening for all over the age of 13. For more information on the campaign, visit: www.stepupgettested.com.
The LCHD/CHC's Sexually Transmitted Infections Program (STI) offers free HIV counseling and testing Monday through Friday at the Belvidere Medical Building, 2400 Belvidere Road in Waukegan. Information about hepatitis and screening for sexually transmitted diseases is also available. For more information, contact the STI Program at: (847) 377-8450.