INDIANAPOLIS – According to the Indiana State Department of Health, more than 10,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Indiana, half of whom live right here in Central Indiana. Additionally, the CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States and a staggering 18 percent, or one in six, are unaware of his or her status. Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and is known to reduce the spread of HIV. Those with HIV who are on treatment and in care can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others by as much as 96 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to know their status.
The Damien Center is teaming with Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the U.S. domestic epidemic, to offer free HIV testing at select Indianapolis Walgreens stores. The testing events are taking place June 26-28 in support of National HIV Testing Day. The Damien Center also offers free HIV and STD testing at its location throughout the year. Visit damien.org for Joseph F. Miller Testing Center hours and information.
According to Rhonda Bayless, Director of Prevention for The Damien Center, HIV testing is a vital part of the health of our community. “Knowing your status is a part of taking care of yourself. Once you’re aware of your status, you can begin to make decisions about your sexual health that keep you safe and healthy,” she says. “If you find out you’re positive, The Damien Center can assist with the first steps to getting into care. If you find out you’re HIV negative, we’ll provide you with the education and tools to stay negative. HIV testing is a part of your overall health care.”
Free HIV testing will be available at select Walgreens locations on June 26-27 from 3 pm to 7 pm, and June 28 from 10 am to 2pm. Participating Walgreens locations are:
- 3003 Kessler Blvd. North Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46222
- 3205 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46201
- 7506 N. Shadeland Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46250
- 1530 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
- 3545 W. 86th St., Indianapolis, IN 46268
- 342 Massachusetts Ave., #103, Indianapolis, IN 46204
“These testing events are powerful examples of what can be achieved when the public and private sector come together in response to HIV/AIDS,” said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communication and Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. “Not only will thousands have access to free testing in a familiar and trusted location in their neighborhoods, but the very act of offering the tests in Walgreens helps to normalize HIV testing as a part of routine health care.”