June 26, 2003 – Friday is National HIV Testing Day, and organizations around the territory will offer free testing on Friday and Saturday.
"The earlier you detect it, the more control you have over it," Lee Vanterpool, Government House spokesman, said.
He noted that HIV — the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes AIDS — is easier to treat if it's detected early on. And, he said, if you don't know if you're infected, you put your sexual partner or partners at risk.
On St. Thomas, testing will be conducted on Friday at the Health Department STD/HIV/TB Clinic at the Old Municipal Hospital from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and at the East End Clinic from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On St. Croix, residents have four options, all on Friday: The Frederiksted Health Clinic will conduct testing from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., V.I. Care will do so at its King Street, Christiansted, office from noon to 8 p.m., AARP will do so at the Sunny Isle Shopping Center form 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the Health Department Family Planning Office will do so at its Vitraco Mall office from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Vanterpool said testing also will be done on Friday at the Women's Personal Support Network at The Village on St. Croix, but the times were not available.
On St. John, testing will be done on Saturday at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Health Department and other agencies encourage residents to take advantage of the free HIV testing. The tests will be conducted using oral fluids through the OraSure method. The procedure does not involve drawing blood.
Nationwide, there are an estimated 750,000 people who don't know they are HIV infected. With new advances in treatment, people infected with the virus can live active and productive lives.
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