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Wednesday, June 27 is National HIV Testing Day. The Washtenaw County Health Department encourages residents to get tested and take steps to stop the spread of HIV.
“Knowing your HIV status is empowering and keeps you healthier,” says Heather Vaquera, prevention specialist at the Washtenaw County Health Department. “People living with HIV who take medicine as prescribed can achieve an undetectable viral load. This means they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to partners.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Early diagnosis and treatment is both beneficial for the health of the person living with HIV, and protects their sexual partners.
Local HIV and STD testing providers include the Washtenaw County Health Department, Planned Parenthood, UNIFIED - HIV Health and Beyond, and the Corner Health Center. Many primary health care providers and women's health care providers also offer testing and treatment.
UNIFIED will be partnering with Walgreens and the Greater Than AIDS campaign to provide free HIV testing for National HIV Testing Day. They will be testing Wednesday from 10am to 7pm at the Walgreens on the corner of Washtenaw and Hewitt in Ypsilanti.
Washtenaw County Health Department’s Sexual Health Services program offers free and confidential HIV testing for everyone 13 years and older. The Health Department also offers PrEP and PEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis), which are prevention options for people at high risk of getting HIV. They also provide free condoms and other barriers, and can help with partner notification, treatment and connecting you to resources. Call 734-544-6840 to make an appointment.
Fifteen Washtenaw County adults were newly diagnosed with HIV infection in 2017. This is the lowest number of new diagnoses in over 20 years. The reasons for the substantial drop in cases have not yet been identified. However, it could be due to more residents living with HIV with undetectable viral loads, or to individuals taking more preventative measures, such as using PrEP.