PRINEVILLE, OR -- More than a million Americans are living with HIV and the CDC estimates one in eight don’t know they have it. Local health departments are offering free testing next week, in recognition of National HIV Testing day, on Monday.
Crook County STD coordinator Katie Simpson, RN says testing should be part of every adult’s routine healthcare. "A lot of adults have not ever been testing and haven’t known their HIV status, and there are a lot of risk factors out there that people don’t think about. So, we just want people to take pride in knowing their status." She tells KBND New, many mistakenly think that if they aren’t gay or bisexual, nor an IV drug user, they aren’t in danger. Risk factors also include congenital, "Having it passed from mom to baby. Especially 15 years ago or so, they weren’t testing very often for that, so people could have been exposed in uterus and didn’t even know. If they’ve had partners who used IV drugs, they may not have used it themselves, but they’re at high risk."
Nurse Simpson says after testing, they can have results back within a couple of days. "If somebody were to test positive that was unaware, the first thing we’d want to do is do partner contacts and test people they’ve been in contact with – mostly sexually, or with sharing needles. We would definitely want to know if there’s other people that have been affected by this individual. Then, after that, they would want to see an infectious disease provider. There are medications now that can greatly improve their quality of life and keep that virus suppressed." Free testing is available in Crook County at the public health office in Prineville from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday.
In Bend, free testing is offered Monday at the Family Kitchen (231 NW Idaho Ave), 10:30a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and at Deschutes County Health (1340 NW Wall St), 2 - 5 p.m.
Testing is also available at the Back Door Café in Bend (680 NW Bond St) on Wednesday, 8 - 10 a.m., and at Jericho Table in Redmond (205 NW 4th St) on Thursday, 4:30 - 5:45 p.m.