National HIV Testing Day is this week

Lisset Ivey, Senior Human Services Program Specialist, Early Intervention Consultant, Prevention Training Consultant with the HIV AIDS Program with the Department of Health Monroe, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about National HIV Testing Day.

It will be on June 27.

Ivey said, “This is a day that’s observed each year to highlight the importance of HIV testing. The theme for this year is level up your self love, check your status. This is to emphasize a value in yourself of showing yourself compassion and respect and honoring your health needs with self love. We’re very excited that we’re partnering with our community partners along with Walgreens, and Greater than HIV. We’re all together in this and it’s a national event. You can find out more information on our website. There are locations and times because there’s five Walgreens within Monroe County that are participating.”

What are the hours?

Ivey said, “They vary. That’s why it’s good to go to the website and find out each hour because some are from 10 to 5, some are 10 to 7, like in Key West. It’s going to be wonderful. We encourage everyone to come out and see us and express their self love to get free testing, and to receive free HIV prevention information in a goodie bag that we’re going to be giving out. So it’s fabulous. This is really important, because one in five people with HIV are unaware that they have it. We want everyone to know their status. It’s the first step to being able to access medical care and if you access medical care, you’re able to live a long and healthy life. That’s what we want everyone to be able to do in Monroe County.”

There are rapid HIV testing and in home self testing kits offered. PrEP is also a form of prevention, too.

Ivey said, “Now it’s in a pill form, once a pill and also an injectable form. So we’ve come a long way with HIV and we are doing very well. We’re very hopeful now and so we’re very excited in Monroe and we have great resources. Our website is a wonderful resource for everyone to go to and you are able to request the in home test kits through there as well.”

How long does the test typically take?

Ivey said, “It’s usually 20 minutes or less and we are able to counsel and talk and discuss with the person and it’s going to be done privately. So there’s confidentiality. It’s going to be in a private room.”

It’s a free service and has been provided for more than 10 years in Monroe County.

Ivey said, “This has been a national effort that’s been being done and within the county myself, I’ve done it for over four years and it’s always been getting better and better. This year with us having five locations, we’ve increased our location amounts, and so we are always getting better and better at reaching everyone.”

Have we been making progress against HIV especially here locally?

Ivey confirmed, “Yes, we have. We have made lots of progress. Usually yearly, we do over 850 tests within Monroe County, yearly. So testing goes on year round with all of our community providers and with the Department of Health. So this is an ongoing effort. We’re always wanting everyone to know their status, and we’re always available to assist our community. We’ve come great strides with the treatments and we have wonderful partners that are providing all of the resources along with us, the Department of Health. We have wonderful community partners.”

For more information on the testing day, click here: