Arkansas: Community Groups Offer Free AIDS Testing Statewide
June 29, 2004
On Sunday, for the first time in state history of National HIV Testing Day, community-based organizations offered free, confidential testing in Arkansas cities outside Little Rock. State Health Department spokesperson Tere Roderick said the department now has alliances with community-based organizations with well-trained workers willing to test on the weekends, allowing the testing program to be expanded to other parts of the state.Adapted from:
Tests were offered this year in 11 counties in cities including Crossett, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Searcy and West Memphis. Roderick said the department hopes to increase testing to 17 counties by next year. Roderick said the state hoped to test 200-300 people. Nationwide, she said, between 10,000 and 12,000 people were expected to test.
The latest state statistics -- from December 2003 -- show 5,781 Arkansans with HIV and 3,558 with AIDS. In 2003, 245 new HIV cases and 167 new AIDS cases were reported. Roderick said the statistics were low because roughly 25 percent of people with HIV do not know they have it, and since Arkansas has not had widespread testing, the number of those infected could be even higher.
Kaleem Sayyed, the Arkansas Department of Health's director for AIDS, STDs and TB, said testing can help stop someone from unknowingly spreading HIV. "Please know your status. That is the best way to fight and prevent the disease," Sayyed said.
06.27.04; Caryn Rousseau
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.