West Monroe, La – The Go Care Clinic of West Monroe did their part to encourage everyone to find out their status on National HIV Testing Day.
Offering free HIV tests is nothing new to Go Care–they do it everyday. But they make a special push on national awareness days like today. Dr. Tavell Kindall says one of the biggest problems they face is getting rid of the stigma people feel attached to just coming in to take the test.
“The Stigma is alive and real and there are alot of people that drive people in terms of ignorance, fear and judgement.”
Kindall says now more than ever people are successfully living with HIV with so many new advances that have been made in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. But the key is knowing you even have HIV before you can treat it.
“You want know if you do if fact have HIV if so we have excellent medications that can treat the infection and keep you healthy.”
And keep those around you healthy as well–it’s easy to spread if you don’t know you have it. Go Care teamed up with local radio personality Jeremy Powell from 100.3 FM to get the word out that today is the day to come by and find out your status.
“It takes five minutes. Know your status. one in five people have HIV and don’t know it so it’s good to know your status.”
Jeremy took the test–and found out he was negative. I decided to take it too. Rusty Chambless was the Wellness Coordinator who administered the test. There are two versions: a one minute test, which is highly reliable, and a 20 minute test, which is even more accurate. They are both quick and easy. Although I don’t like anything having to do with blood–I went along with the program.
“So all we do is take a little finger prick for blood. Then we take two solutions. The first solution is a blood thinner.”
After the blood prick, which is painless, (and for which I was offered a cookie!), the solution is put in a little dish. One little blue dot shows up automatically as a test to show it is working. Then you wait about a minute to see in a second blue dot appears in the dish–if it does, you have HIV. If it doesn’t, you breathe a sigh of relief and are happier for just knowing.
The test was so simple, and took so little time…yet taking it in time could save your life–or the life of someone you know.
The Go Care Clinic is located at 1801 N. 7th Street in West Monroe and offers tree HIV Testing Monday through Thursday, 8AM-4:30AM and on Friday from 8AM-2PM. No Appointment is necessary and your results are confidential.
The first National HIV Testing Day was observed on June 27th, 1995. Treatments have come a long way since then–but you have to know you have it before you can treat it.
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