Free, rapid HIV screening offered at health center
The St. Charles Community Health Center is now offering a free HIV test that will give results in as little as 20 minutes without having to draw blood.
Previous HIV/AIDS tests not only called for the drawing of blood but also took up to two weeks to screen, according to Jennifer Frizzell, the operations manager of the St. Charles Community Health Center. The earlier test also cost $32.
"We got tons of calls from people who wanted to get the test, but when we told them that it cost $32, they wouldnít get it," Frizzell said. "Even people who would pay to get the test sometimes wouldnít come back in to get results two weeks later.
"Now that the test is free and the results are immediate, we hope that more people will get tested."
HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. It is possible for a person to have the virus for months or years before any signs of illness appear. The virus weakens the bodyís ability to fight off infections and people with AIDS develop serious infections and cancers.
"People that live in big cities, such as New Orleans or Baton Rouge, get tested more than people in rural communities, which is scary when you consider that statistics show that one in five people who are HIV positive donít know it," Frizzell said.
The free HIV screening is offered to anyone in the community. Residents can either call to set up an appointment or visit the health center from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get tested. During the test, a swab is taken of a personís mouth and is then put into a solution. Twenty minutes later, the test can determine with 99.8 percent accuracy whether a person has HIV.
If the test comes back positive, the person is swabbed again and the results are sent to the state for final determination. Those who take the test donít have to give their name and can choose to remain anonymous.
The health center receives the HIV testing kits for free from the state as part of a family planning program.
"This is a really great program," Frizzell said. "It will increase the number of people that get tested and will help spread awareness of HIV/AIDS."
According to HIV411.org, Louisiana ranks eleventh in the nation in the number of reported AIDS cases. As of June 20, 2010, 30,299 people in Louisiana have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana, including 313 cases in children under the age of 13.
The greatest concentration of new HIV diagnoses in Louisiana occurs in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, according to the web site.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald Guide is the complete local news in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.
Get your local news, sports and information from the Parish's award winning paper.
St. Charles Herald Guide has what you need.
St. Charles Parish plans to go out for construction bids next month on the first...
Most graduating seniors do not come close to scoring a 27 on the ACT test, but...
Little more than a week after officials from 14 parishes took a trip to Washington,...
The Hahnville Tigers finished with 12 points at the LHSAA State Track and Field...
The Port of South Louisiana will soon see a change in leadership after Joel T....
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, along with eight other parish presidents and...
The spa where everyone goes to relax glow and renew.
Chaisson out as port director, Aucoin named successor - 582 views
Joel T. Chaisson Sr.ís eight-year tenure as executive director of the Port of South Louisiana will officially come to an end on July 14.