DHEC Provides HIV Testing at No Cost on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 5, 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. – To recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control will offer STD testing at no cost at participating DHEC clinics.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day highlights the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS has on the African American community. In 2016-2017, African Americans had a case rate 6.3 times greater than Caucasians in South Carolina. Of the 1,520 people newly diagnosed with HIV during that timeframe, 65 percent were African American.
"This annual observance reminds us of how significantly African American communities are affected by HIV and what can be done to change that,” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist and director of the agency's Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control. "Getting screened, as you would for any other possible health threat, can have a big impact in reducing the stigma of HIV and reducing HIV infections among African Americans."
DHEC hopes residents will take advantage of the free STD testing on Feb. 7 as well as use National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to learn important facts about AIDS and HIV, including how the disease is transmitted and treated and methods for prevention.
“Taking that first step of getting tested keeps you knowledgeable and in control of your own health,” said Ali Mansaray, director of DHEC's STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis Division.
South Carolina HIV/AIDS statistics for 2016-2017
- Of the 19,749 people living with a diagnosis of HIV (including AIDS), 47 percent were African American men and 23 percent were African American women.
- Among the 1,520 people newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in S.C., 65 percent were African American.
- Among women recently diagnosed, 70 percent were African American.
- Among men recently diagnosed, 64 percent were African American.
- The majority (38 percent) of new HIV/AIDS cases were among people ages 20-29; 22 percent were among people age 30-39; 15 percent were among people age 40-49; and 20 percent were 50 or older. Four percent were under the age of 20.
For information about the free STD testing sites, call DHEC's South Carolina STD/HIV Hotline at 1-855-4-SCDHEC (1-855-472-3432) or visit scdhec.gov/stdhiv. Throughout the year, DHEC clinics provide HIV testing at a small cost depending on the client's ability to pay. Find a health department clinic at scdhec.gov/Health/PublicHealthClinics.