Kansas: Reno County Health Department Offers Free, Rapid Testing for HIV
February 13, 2007
To promote HIV testing, the Reno County Health Department will conduct free rapid HIV screening from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Results will be ready in 20 minutes. Testing at the department, located at 209 W. 2nd, is anonymous and appointments are not required.
Jose Cintron, who teaches HIV education and prevention for the health department, said many are afraid to get tested because they do not want bad news. Others associate testing with stigma.
Cintron said anyone at risk of contracting HIV, whether through sharing needles or having unprotected sex with multiple partners, should be tested. The number of HIV/AIDS patients in Reno County has increased slightly, from 16 people in 2003 to 24 people in 2006. He said the department plans to offer free testing every three to four months.
"I tell people the sooner they come and get tested, if they find out they have HIV, the better it is for them to get the medication they need to be treated effectively," Cintron said. Cintron noted that unprotected sex can also lead to other STDs. In Reno County, reported gonorrhea cases rose from 31 in 2005 to 51 in 2006. Reported chlamydia cases rose from 148 in 2005 to 164 in 2006.
Mike Heideman, spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the occurrence of STDs in the state sees some fluctuation from year to year, but has remained mostly stable.
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.