Paine College hosted its 14th annual free healthcare to give HIV tests before the national testing day that’s on June 27th.
“There’s no symptoms to HIV. You won’t know until you get tested, so in order to know come get a free test,” says Yanza Collins, Executive Director of Positively Augusta.
Hundreds of people packed in the HEAL Complex at Paine College to check out the health fair vendors and get screened for HIV.
Positively Augusta partnered with Angelic Community Resource Development to ensure people know their status.
“In our health district we have about 21 hundred people living with HIV. We have on average about 100 people that get diagnosed positive every single year,” says Yanza Collins .
In 2018, It was reported that 1,345 HIV cases occurred in Richmond County.
Augusta is ranked second to Atlanta for people living with HIV in Georgia.
“It affects us more than it does our white counterparts, so it’s important to be in the heart of an African American community providing this free testing,” says Yanza Collins.
Also Positively Augusta believes that providing a comfortable environment has made it easier for people to come out and get tested.
Especially for those who don’t have access to these resources.
“A lot of people are uninsured or they just don’t have insurance in general. They’re afraid to go to the health department. They’re afraid to go to the doctor, and this is just an opportunity to come out and be in your own community and get other health screenings and know your status,” says Yanza Collins.
To ease the anticipation of the results, volunteers used the Insti-HIV test that only takes 60 secs, so people can be in and out.
“Previously we use to do a test that took 15-20 minutes, so know that people get their results in 60 seconds…I mean that anxiety and fear…you can only do so much in 60 secs,” says Yanza Collins.