National HIV Testing Day: A few minutes that could save your life

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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COLUMBUS -- Nearly 5,000 people in Franklin County are living with HIV, according to new numbers from Columbus Public Health.

People who test positive for HIV can live long and healthy lives, but doctors say early detection is key.

That's why Columbus Public Health is teaming up with Walgreens, AIDS Health Care Foundation, Equitas Health, National African American Male Wellness Initiative and Nationwide Children’s Hospital on National HIV Testing Day to test and educate for the virus.

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A rapid test can be a prick of the finger with results given in minutes. According to the AIDS Institute, all positive HIV test results, regardless of whether they are from rapid or conventional tests, must be verified by a second “confirmatory” HIV test. If someone is HIV negative and sexually active, Columbus Public Health encourages that person to consult a doctor about PrEP, a daily pill that is up to 99% effective at preventing HIV.

Some of the testing locations and times Wednesday are:

  • Columbus Public Health Take Care Down There Clinic
    ​240 Parsons Ave. (1-5 p.m.)
  • Walgreens
    3583 E. Broad St. (10 a.m.-7 p.m.)
    1280 Demorest Rd. (10 a.m.-7 p.m.)
  • Equitas Health
    4400 N. High St. (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Out of the Closet
    1230 N. High St. (10 a.m.-7 p.m.)
  • African American Male Wellness Initiative “Let’s Talk” Event
    740 E. Long St. (6-8 p.m.)

Free or low-cost HIV testing is available year-round from Columbus Public Health. For testing hours or more information, visit www.publichealth.columbus.gov. For a list of all local agencies that provide HIV testing and services, visit www.AIDS.gov. To learn more about PrEP and local prescribers, visit www.columbus.gov/prep.