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RVA Health Groups Provide Free Testing All Weekend for National HIV Testing Day

This weekend is the perfect time to make sure your status is up to date.

Brad Kutner | June 26, 2014

As we said earlier this week – it’s getting harder and harder to excuse not knowing your HIV status here in Virginia, and this weekend is the perfect time to make sure your status is up to date.

Three Richmond area health groups are working together to participate in National HIV Testing Day, and there are tons of resources available for folks to get tested and educate themselves on safe-sex practices starting this evening and running through Saturday.

“There are nearly 2500 persons living with HIV in the City of Richmond and many more that are positive but aware of their status,” said  Pamela D. Price, the HIV/STI Program Supervisor for the Richmond City Health District’s branch of the Virginia Department of Health.

Nearly 300 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Richmond between 2011 and 2013, and Price said the disease impacts minority populations at higher rates than whites, with young African-Americans between the ages of 15-29 accounting for nearly half of the new cases each year.

“Testing only takes 20 minutes and there are counselors and other healthcare workers trained to provide counseling as well as assist with getting people into medical care if they are positive,” added Price.

But the VA Department of Health is only one of the groups helping to get the word out for the annual HIV testing day - The Fan Free Clinic and the Minority Health Consortium will be offering testing locations around the city as well.

“Unfortunately there are still a lot of folks who don’t know their status,” said Susan Tellier, Care and Community Services Coordinator for the Fan Free Clinic. “It’s folks who do not know their status who have a greater potential of spreading HIV to those they love and care about.”

HIV has fallen off a lot of folk’s radar recently, but Tellier said it’s still very much an issue here in RVA, particularly for our younger children. She stressed teaching safe-sex, self-esteem, and negotiation skills plays a key role in helping the younger generation avoid contracting this illness.

So get out there tomorrow (or tonight, or this weekend), get tested, and know your status.

Here are details on locations for testing: 

Testing hours are Thurs, Fri 3-7PM, Sat 10-2 PM

Walgreens – 5122 Hull Street Road – (Hull and Warwick)

Walgreens – 3715 Mechanicsville Turnpike (Sec Mechanicsville and Laburnum)

Walgreens – 4845 S. Laburnum Ave.

June 28th, Richmond City Health District and Minority Health Consortium will be helping to provide testing and education at the “Reach Back, Reach Up” Mens’ Forum hosted by Radio One.  The event is open and FREE to the public.  There will be on-site counseling services for men and their families, powerful speakers, and prizes.  The event is from Noon – 3pm at the Trinity Family Life Center, located at 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA.  FREE Rapid HIV Testing will be offered from 11:30 – 2:30pm.

The VA Department of Health has partnered with Walgreens nationwide to offer free testing regularly – here in Richmond, you can get tested at: 

Walgreens – 4845 S. Laburnum Ave. Richmond VA 23231, in RVA’s east end.

Give them a call at 804-226-4581 for hours of operation.

For additional info, or questions about testing and HIV, you can reach Susan Tellier from Fan Free via email – stellier@fanfreeclinic.org