MAYVILLE - National HIV Testing Day is Wednesday, June 27 and the Chautauqua County Department of Health will be offering HIV testing at no cost to patients.
Confidential walk-in clinics have been scheduled between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at clinic locations in Jamestown and Dunkirk for that day.
HIV testing at the health department is done quickly and results are provided in 20 minutes. The clinics are able to offer accurate HIV testing through oral fluid by swabbing the inside of the mouth; there is no need for blood or needles.
Individuals learn their status in a single visit which allows those who test positive for HIV to be connected to care immediately.
Pain-free testing means more people get screened, more HIV positive people are connected to care and fewer people will be exposed to the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most new HIV infections in the United States are among people under the age of 30. More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV and 232,700 don't know it - and go on to spread the virus causing 54-70 percent of the 56,300 new infections each year.
According to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), 132 people are living with HIV and 115 people are living with AIDS in Chautauqua County.
"Everyone should be tested for HIV because early detection saves lives," Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director, said. "Seventy-five percent of HIV positive people will change risky behaviors when they learn that they have the virus. This decreases the spread of HIV and those who are HIV positive can get essential treatment early, before HIV develops into AIDS."
The CDC recommends HIV testing for everyone between the ages of 13 and 64. HIV testing is also recommended for all pregnant women as a routine part of prenatal care. A woman who has HIV and is pregnant can take certain medications during pregnancy that, combined with medical care, can significantly lower the chances of passing HIV to her baby.
Regular clinic hours are 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday at 319 Central Ave, Dunkirk and 110 East Fourth St., Jamestown. Additional evening clinic appointments are available for all ages, please call 363-3660 or 661-8111 for an appointment.