MAYVILLE National HIV Testing Day was held recently. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most new HIV infections in the United States are among people under 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 to 70 percent of the 56,300 new infections each year. According to the New York State Department of Health, 132 people are living with HIV and 115 people are living with AIDS in Chautauqua County.
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.
The Chautauqua County Department of Health offers confidential HIV testing at no cost to patients. 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.
"Everyone should be tested for HIV because early detection saves lives," said Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director.
"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," added Schuyler.
The Health Department clinic hours are 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additional evening clinic appointments are available for all ages. Call for an appointment.
The Dunkirk Health Department is located at 319 Central Ave., or call(716) 363-3660
The Jamestown Health Department is located at 110 E. Fourth St., or call (716) 661-8111.
For more information on this and other reproductive services offered, please contact the Health Department at 1-866-604-6789 or visit our website at: www.MyHealthyCounty.com.