Thursday is National HIV Testing Day.
It’s an annual campaign by the Centers for Disease Control that encourages people of all ages to take the test and take control.
According to the CDC, about 1.1 million people are living with HIV and almost one in five don’t even know they are infected.
The Kansas City Health Department is offering free HIV tests at several Walgreens locations across the Kansas City Metro area. Pharmacists say it’s important for people to know their status.
“If you know your status, you have better chances of leading a healthier and happier life," said Kamile Johnson, a pharmacist with Walgreens in Kansas City. "You want to start on medications and you want to meet with health care providers to make sure you're doing everything possible to stay healthy."
Johnson said getting tested is simple and quick.
There are two ways to get tested. You can do a finger prick or just an oral swab. You can receive the testing within 20 minutes. Whether you're positive or negative, there will be counselors on site to discuss what’s going on and how to move forward with those results.
If test results are positive, doctors say there are ways to get treatment if you don’t have health insurance.
“There are case managers and social workers that are available to help you enroll in programs such as Ryan White to get coverage for your HIV medications. You also may be eligible for programs such as Medicaid," said Johnson.
There are dozens of locations across the Kansas City areas that are offering testing.
If you’d like to get an HIV test, you can go to the following locations:
-The University Of Kansas Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Blvd Kansas City Kansas
-Kansas City Free Health Clinic
3515 Broadway St Kansas City, Missouri
-Kansas City Care Clinic
6400 Prospect Kansas City, Missouri
-The Guadalupe Center
2641 Belleview Ave Kansas City, Missouri
Select Walgreens stores are also offering free tests on Thursday. For information, visit http://greaterthan.org/partners/walgreens/#.UcwYT9V4LK0 .
You can find more HIV resources, including more locations for tests, by visiting locator.aids.gov .
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