In honor of World AIDS Day, the Virginia Department of Health organized free HIV screenings at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise on the fifth floor of the library. Every year, a booth is set up with pamphlets, condoms, forms for preventative medications, and candy all for free.
A curtain is set up for confidentiality while a small prick of the finger is all it takes to know your results and assist in eliminating the stigma of getting tested. Many students took advantage of the free testing while also sporting red ribbons to call more attention to HIV and AIDS awareness.
“The only way for someone to know their status is to be tested.” says Michelle McPheron-Nurse Manager for the Virginia Department of Health.
Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. In 2016, 39,782 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States. The rate of diagnoses of HIV has declined in recent years, however over 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics of all time.
World AIDS Day was founded in 1988 to bring awareness to the prevention and treatment of AIDS. For more information on testing, prevention, medication, and counseling visit your local health department.