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U.S. News

Nonprofit's Clinic Is Crossing Nation

June 16, 2009

The nation's largest nonprofit AIDS medical care provider has begun a 14-city free HIV testing caravan across the southern United States, culminating with a stop in Washington, D.C., for HIV Testing Day on June 27. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation took its AHF/Magic Johnson Mobile HIV Testing Unit to New Orleans on Monday, offering rapid oral swab HIV screening at Café Du Monde in the French Quarter as well as at the Algiers Family Health Center.

Named in honor of retired HIV-positive NBA legend Magic Johnson, AHF's mobile clinic tested five people in Algiers by 10:30 a.m., two hours after opening. "We normally would only get one person on a Monday if we are lucky," said JoAnna Bruster, outreach coordinator for the center.

The local organizations NO/AIDS Task Force, FACES, and the Family Health Center helped AHF with the event. AHF coordinators also scoured the surrounding blocks to let people know about free HIV testing nearby. By the end of the day, 44 people were screened for HIV, with all but one testing HIV-negative. The person whose test was positive was counseled and referred for local medical care, organizers said.

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AHF's first-ever free HIV testing caravan has already stopped in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Houston, and it will be in Jackson, Miss., today. The organization has provided a $5,000 grant to local agencies that assist with the events.

"What we've heard from our [agency] partners is that there is still a lot of stigma in the South regarding HIV and AIDS," said Azul Mares-Delgrasso, AHF's field services manager. "So we decided to reach out to the agencies in the South and draw attention to those agencies by having this mobile unit out here."

For more information about the caravan, visit www.aidshealth.org/news/press-releases/blair-underwood-to-kick-off.html.

Back to other news for June 2009

Adapted from:
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
06.16.2009; Amber Sandoval-Griffin


  
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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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