Health Dept. Pushes for HIV Screenings - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Health Dept. Pushes for HIV Screenings

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Augusta, GA -

Friday was national HIV/AIDS day and the number of cases of the virus  in the CSRA, are some of the highest in the state of Georgia.

 Knowledge is power for LaKeisha McWilliams.

 "It's good to know your status," said Williams.

 That's why she's taking part in the Richmond County Health Department's free HIV screenings on National Black HIV/AIDS day. Getting tested hits close to home.

 McWilliams said, "I have a friend that's been HIV positive since 2001."

 According to the Richmond County Health Department, there are more 2100 people in our area living with HIV and AIDS. 109 are new cases of the virus. Our area has the second highest number of HIV/Aids cases in the state and more than 3 out of 4 people infected are African American.

 "Those aren't the people we need to be afraid of. It's the people who don't know their status. People are afraid of this topic. They don't want to come out and get tested, said Yanza Collins of the Richmond County Health Department.

 She wants you to know just how important it is to get tested.

 "Because it could be you. It could be your neighbor. It could be your mom. It could be your dad. Everybody's at risk," said Collins.

 The test is a swab that goes in your mouth and you get your results in 20 minutes. No needles are involved.

 LaKeisha McWilliams received her results.

 "Sweet. Negative," said McWilliams.

 She adds, "Even though we have the highest or the fastest growing rate in the community as far as this disease, but we're not the only ones that's getting it. Everyone should be aware of their status."

 The health department gives HIV/AIDS tests for free.



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