New York: Putting HIV Clinic in Motion
July 3, 2006
Planned Parenthood of Nassau County recently unveiled a 27-foot van to coincide with the 12th annual National HIV Testing Day. The vehicle offers a private room for testing and counseling and an area where teens, trained by Planned Parenthood, will educate their peers about sexuality, abstinence, and teen issues. Adult educators will use the space to tell stories of how they were infected or affected by the disease and to talk about prevention.
The van will travel to beaches, shopping centers, and possibly college campuses. Because minority women are at higher-than-average risk of contracting HIV, the vehicle will travel to areas where they live such as parts of Hempstead.
"We encourage everyone to get tested, not just those engaged in risky [sexual] behavior," said JoAnn Smith, president of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County. The Nassau County Department of Health said more than 3,800 residents have been diagnosed with AIDS.
The van offers OraQuick testing, which takes less than 20 minutes for results. Testing is free and confidential.
Peggy Rivera, an HIV education and program coordinator for Planned Parenthood, said most people fear getting tested, but knowing the test is short and simple takes away some of the apprehension. She said not knowing one's status can be harmful, but early detection allows people to get help and live long.
"It's the one true way you're going to know your status," Rivera said. "You can't detect it by looking in the mirror."
Newsday (New York)
06.28.06; Britney Tabor
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.