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U.S. News

California: Van Offers Painless, Oral HIV Tests

February 12, 2008

On Feb. 7, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the California Prevention and Education Project offered free rapid, oral fluid based HIV testing from a van on Fifth and Washington streets in Oakland.

In Alameda County, 50 percent of people infected with HIV are African-American, and about 25 percent don’t know they are infected, according to the Alameda County Health Status Report. African-American men account for 60 percent of HIV infections, according to county data and the education project.

According to Carla Dillard Smith, the project’s deputy director, “Everybody should get tested. Most new infections are among people who don’t have a perception of being at risk.” She added, “We are seeing a lot of new infections among working, middle-class people.” Similar statistics are found nationally, with African Americans being infected more frequently than other ethnic groups.

Some people do not get tested because they are not aware of the latest testing methods, do not have the time, or fear a negative result. All positive test results must be confirmed with an additional test.

African-American women make up about 26 percent of new cases of HIV infection in the county, and they are least likely to suspect they are infected. US Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women are supporting new efforts to expand testing and prevention efforts among black women.

Back to other news for February 2008

Adapted from:
Contra Costa Times
2.08.2008; Barbara Grady

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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.
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