North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Houston County Health Department Providing Testing and More at World AIDS Day Event

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Get Tested and Learn About HIV/AIDS Dec. 1, Noon to 3 P.M.

On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Houston County Health Department is providing free HIV testing, education and more to community members. In addition to HIV/AIDS resources, this event will offer resources from community partner agencies, free food, a live DJ, gift cards, prizes and more. The health department is partnering with Warner Robins Parks and Recreation to host the event at the Deloris Toliver Gym at 115 Wallace Dr. in Warner Robins. Everyone invited to this event Wednesday, Dec. 1, from noon to 3 p.m.

2021 is the 33nd anniversary of World AIDS Day, a global health observation that offers an opportunity for people to show support for those living with HIV/AIDS and to remember those who fought against the disease. The annual recognition is important as it reminds the community, healthcare providers and organizations that there is still a need to combat stigma, increase awareness and improve education to continue reducing the impact of HIV and AIDS.

HIV remains a persistent public health issue in our country. According to the CDC, at the end of 2019, over 1.1 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV. Of those people, 87% knew they had HIV while the rest did not. The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested.

“HIV testing is an important part of protecting our community,” said Houston County Health Department Health Educator Stephanie Robinson. “A person could be living with HIV and not know it until they get tested. The earlier a person knows they have HIV, the sooner they can get started with treatment. Early detection is an important part of effective treatment.”

Though there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, a person can reduce the risk of transmission in a number of ways. Using condoms properly every time during sexual contact and reducing the number of sex partners can reduce the chance of infection. A person who avoids injecting drugs has a lower risk than a person who does. People who inject drugs can reduce the risk of HIV infection by not sharing needles. If a person is at very high risk, he or she should talk to their healthcare provider about PrEP. Everyone at risk of HIV infection is advised to get tested regularly. Those with a higher risk should get tested more often.

“Part of reducing the spread of HIV in our communities is to provide education about it,” said Houston County Health Department Health Educator Christian Jordan Hand. “Everyone should know how transmission occurs, how to prevent the spread and what treatments are available for those in need. Talking about HIV also helps to reduce stigma and encourages people to recognize this public health issue.”

Houston County Health Department and North Central Health District (NCHD) work to fight the spread of HIV throughout the community by offering a variety of services. The county health department provides testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) along with tools and education for reducing an individual’s risk of infection. In addition, NCHD’s Ryan White-funded HOPE Center helps those living with HIV/AIDS through peer counseling, medical services and referrals to third-party services for additional client needs.

To learn more about NCHD’s HIV testing, care and treatment services, please call your local health department or visit NCHD52.org/HIV.

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