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Wednesday is HIV Testing Day in Kalamazoo

Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo

Kalamazoo County will participate in National HIV Testing Day on Wednesday, June 27. The county health department's clinical services supervisor, Penny Born RN, says the tests are for more than just people considered at high-risk for AIDS.

"We're encouraging all adults who are sexually active to be tested to know their status. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one-in- seven people are positive with HIV and are not aware of their status."

Born says there are an estimated 368 people in Kalamazoo County who are positive for HIV. Born says those who don't know it can pose a risk to the community.

"If you're positive with HIV and you're unaware of your status, you're more at risk to transmit it because you're not going to be careful with your sexual contacts and disclosing your status."

The theme for National HIV Testing Day this year is #DoingItMyWay. And Born says getting tested is free, fast, and confidential.

"We do a really rapid test. And the test results will be available in a few moments. We'll do some counseling with the individual, talk to them to see what their risk factors may be."

Born says there are still public misconceptions about how HIV/AIDS is spread. She says the biggest risk factors are unprotected sex and sharing hypodermic needles. Born says the virus does not spread through casual contact like shaking hands or kissing. However, mothers can transmit the disease to their infants through breast milk.

Tests will be available Wednesday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services, 3299 Gull Road.

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Andy Robins has been WMUK's News Director since 1998 and a broadcast journalist for over 24 years. He joined WMUK's staff in 1985. Under his direction, WMUK has received numerous awards for news reporting.
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