CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Linn County Public Health (LCPH) joins local, state and national partners in recognizing Saturday, December 1st as World AIDS Day. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. LCPH is offering free HIV screening for anyone wishing to know their HIV status on Friday, November 30th from 12:00 pm to 3:30 pm in recognition of World AIDS Day. This screening is simply a finger poke with results ready in minutes. LCPH has partnered with Belle’s Basix to also offer free HIV screening from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Saturday, December 1st at 3916 1st Ave NE in Cedar Rapids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be screened for HIV at least once as part of routine health care.
More than 3,000 Iowans are living with HIV; however, based upon statistical modeling, it is estimated about 400 of them do not know because they have never been tested. The CDC estimates more than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV, and one in seven of those infected are unaware that they have the virus. Individuals at high risk for HIV infection should get screened every 3 to 6 months.
Many things have changed since the first World AIDS Day observance in 1988. HIV (the virus, which if untreated, can cause AIDS) is no longer a “death sentence.” HIV is now treated as a manageable chronic disease. If someone living with HIV stays on their medications and in care, they can expect to live as long as someone without HIV.
“We are also proud to offer PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) services to those at high risk for acquiring HIV. When taken daily, PrEP has shown success in reducing the likelihood of HIV infection by up to 92 percent,” states LCPH Director Pramod Dwivedi. “Additionally, LCPH can help with referrals for TelePrEP.” Iowa has a nationally recognized TelePrEP program that allows patients to communicate with their healthcare provider via the internet (Skype) and receive their medications by mail.
LCPH is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm at 501 13th Street NW, Cedar Rapids. LCPH provides testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV screening. All HIV and STI testing is confidential. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call LCPH at (319) 892-6093.
To learn more about the benefits of HIV screening, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/testing.html
Linn County Public Health, an agency within Linn County government, serves more than 220,000 residents of Linn County to prevent disease and injury, promote healthy living, protect the environment, and ensure public health preparedness. Learn more at linncounty.org/health or by calling 319-892-6000. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LCPublicHealth and follow us on Twitter @LCPublicHealth.