SNOHOMISH COUNTY--- Snohomish Health District will offer free oral testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), June 23-27, at 3020 Rucker Ave., Suite 208, Everett. The free offer coincides with a nationwide campaign sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS (www. napwa.org or www.nhtd.org).
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 900,000 people in the United States have HIV--- and about one-quarter of them don’t know they have it. The most recent local statistics show 438 people in Snohomish County live with HIV/AIDS.
“Our strongest public health message is to avoid the behaviors that invite disease in the first place, and our biggest challenge is to keep disease from spreading,” said Kevin Henderson, health educator at the Health District. Henderson said people who know they are HIV-infected are more likely to take steps to protect their partners than when they were unaware of their infection. Last year, 34 residents in the county tested positive for HIV/AIDS. “We’re inviting everyone who wants to know their status to come in,” he said.
The entire procedure takes 20 minutes and is painless. A stamp-sized absorbent pad is placed between a person’s lower gum and cheek. The pad collects fluid that will be lab tested for HIV antibodies. The specimen takes 10 days to process and individuals return to the Health District for results.
For more information about HIV testing, call the HIV/STD Prevention Program at 425.339.5251.
Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at www.snohd.org.