National HIV Testing Day Successful in Texas
June 29, 2006
As part of National HIV Testing Day on Tuesday, the Tarrant County Public Health Department and the JPS Health Network offered free testing at four sites including a private residence in east Fort Worth. This was the first year the county conducted testing at a home, a fact that was at least partly responsible for the good turnout, said Jeffrey Green, epidemiology specialist with the county. Many people find it difficult to visit a clinic for testing or are afraid to go due to the stigma attached to the disease, he said.
"We're looking for any way to make it easier for people to get this test," Green explained. "So when someone offers us their home, on a national day such as this, we go for it. If we just get 10 people who normally wouldn't come into our clinic, we've done a service for the community."
Sterlyng Jourdon and Michael Matthews said having their red brick colonial home serve as a testing site was the best way they could imagine reaching out to the community. At the home, neighbors attracted by the large banner across the front of the house milled among the booths, enjoying hot dogs and listening to a jazz quartet. In addition to HIV testing and counseling, county and city health workers offered free testing for other STDS; cholesterol and blood pressure screenings; condoms; and health pamphlets.
The recent loss of a friend to AIDS "because they did not get tested and get the treatment that they needed," said Matthews, was partly behind the decision to host the event. "It is a way that I think we can have meaningful contacts with our community and get to know each other in fighting a terrible disease," he noted.
Other testing sites included Wilson's Barbecue in the Como neighborhood, the county's Adult Health Services center on Main Street, and the Viola M. Pitts/Como clinic on Bryant Irvin Road.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
06.28.2006; David Michael Cohen
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.