Marshall Health coordinating free, confidential HIV testing on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1

Marshall Health, in collaboration with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR), will offer free and confidential HIV testing Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the health department at 703 7th Ave. in Huntington.

“Increased testing, education and resources for those with positive tests and community prevention are vital to decreasing the spread of HIV,” said Jessica Ford, D.O., event organizer and pediatric hospitalist fellow at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “We hope many will join us to recognize World AIDS day, unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS and get tested!”

HIV is a virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) if not treated. HIV is preventable and those at high risk may benefit from taking medication referred to as PrEP.  HIV/AIDS cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Getting tested is the only way to find out if you have HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in seven people with HIV in the U.S. do not know that they are infected. In the last three years, an estimated 120 adults and adolescents were diagnosed with HIV in West Virginia, according to the WV DHHR. Cabell County had the greatest number of cases within the state.

The Dec. 1 testing event is intended for high school and college age individuals (25-years-old and younger), but no one will be turned away. It is free (insurance will not be billed) and confidential (parental consent is not required by law). Following testing, participants will be notified of their results and receive any necessary counseling. While supplies last, participants will receive a gift card. Masks must be worn and will be provided if participants do not have one.