Mid-Michigan Clinics Offer Free HIV Testing

FOX 47 News

Mid-Michigan Clinics Offer Free HIV Testing

CREATED Jun. 27, 2012

It's a simple test that saves lives, and today it's being done for free as part of National HIV Testing Day.

Testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be anonymous or confidential and is offered through a variety of options. All it takes is a prick of the finger, or a swab on the inside of your cheek, and about a half-hour of your time.

Both the Jackson County and Ingham County health departments are offering the service today. There will also be opportunities to get tested at mobile clinics.

More than a million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, including an estimated 19,000 people in Michigan. But data indicates that of those, only about 14,800 actually have been diagnosed while the remainder is unaware.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is also now recommending all teenagers age 16 and up take an HIV test. Some parents don't agree with the recommendation of teens getting tested, saying just because their kid is 16 doesn't mean they are sexually active. But health experts say many teens lie to parents about their sexual activity, and testing is the safe route. It can prevent teens from unknowingly spreading the disease.

Health experts add learning your HIV status at any age is important because those who test positive should get treatment, and those who test negative should look at any behaviors that might put them at risk.