gives convenience, privacy
By CANDACE NELSON
DAILY MAIL STAFF
Charleston Area Medical Center's Ryan White Program will distribute free HIV in-home testing kits to the public as part of National HIV Testing Day Thursday.
The test requires a mouth swab that produces results within 20 minutes, and users can perform the tests themselves. Test kits will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the fourth-floor outpatient clinic at CAMC's Memorial Hospital at 3200 MacCorkle Ave. S.E.
"Most people get tested through the local health departments and then get referred to us," said Christine Teague, the program director of the CAMC Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
"We've heard through patients that it's not always the most convenient process because they may only do it certain days of the week and certain times. For some people, when they decide to get tested, they need access to the testing right then. That was one of the major factors in making the decision to give away these kits."
Following Thursday's kick-off, the free kits will be available at the outpatient clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
"The big thing is just that in general people aren't getting tested, period. One in five in this country don't know they have HIV - probably because of the stigma and misperception about access to health care or treatment opportunities," Teague said.
"People don't do it or think they're not at risk. People don't get tested or get tested way far along in the disease process when it's harder to get things under control."
The OraQuick test has been around for several years and has been available for over-the-counter purchase since October. Teague said confirmation is required if the screening test is positive.