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The original item was published from 6/18/2010 12:54:30 PM to 6/26/2010 12:00:06 AM.

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Posted on: June 18, 2010

[ARCHIVED] Health Department Offers Free HIV Testing

In honor of National HIV Testing Day, the Lincoln County Health Department will be working with ALFA to offer free, confidential HIV testing in the community.

ALFA, formerly known as AIDS Leadership Foothills Area-Alliance, has provided supportive services to those infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS since 1987. ALFA currently provides supportive and medical case management, prevention education, and outreach to a nine county service area. ALFA's service area consists of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, Watauga, and Wilkes counties. The testing will take place at the Sunrise Family Resource Center located at 118 Deaton Avenue in Lincolnton on June 25th, 2010 from 3 to 6 PM.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. A person can be infected with HIV but it could take as many as 10 years before they begin to show symptoms. That's why it's important to get tested as soon as possible. An HIV test is the only way to find out if you are HIV positive. Some shy away from HIV tests because they feel healthy, and see no reason for HIV or STD tests. Feeling okay does not mean a person is not infected. Even those who feel sure they have protected themselves may be infected. That's why the Lincoln County Health Department encourages the community to take advantage of its free, confidential HIV testing. Testing for the HIV antibodies requires only a drop of blood taken from a finger prick. The test provides results within 10 minutes enabling you to find out your results during the same visit.

The number of people living with HIV infection in the United States is higher than ever before. CDC has estimated that more than 1 million (1,106,400) adults and adolescents were living with HIV infection in the United States at the end of 2006, the most recent year for which national prevalence estimates are available. This represents an increase of approximately 11% from the previous estimate in 2003. Currently in North Carolina, there are currently over 13,000 people living with HIV and over 9,000 people living with AIDS.

You can also get an HIV test at the Health Department by calling 704-735-3001 to make an appointment.

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