The Tennessee Department of Health joins a coalition of health providers and other partners across the country taking part in National HIV Testing Day Friday. As part of this effort to raise awareness and promote prevention of HIV, TDH is teaming up with Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to provide free HIV testing at sites across Tennessee June 26-28. TDH encourages all sexually active Tennesseans, regardless of age, to get tested for HIV.
“We urge all Tennesseans who are sexually active to take responsibility for their health and the health of their partners by making HIV testing a standard part of their health care routine,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.
“Knowing your HIV status is crucial to slowing the epidemic of HIV and AIDS in our state, our nation and the world.”
Free HIV testing will be provided June 26-28 at the following Tennessee Walgreens locations in partnership with local community-based organizations:
3605 Brainerd Road, Chattanooga
1202 South James Campbell Blvd., #24, Columbia
627 Gallatin Pike, South, Madison
1130 South Bellevue Blvd., Memphis
2655 Frayser Blvd., Memphis
1131 Mercury Blvd., Murfreesboro
5600 Charlotte Pike, Nashville
2611 Franklin Pike, Nashville
3130 Clarksville Pike, Nashville
1081 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville
“It is estimated that more than one million Americans are living with HIV infection, but almost one in six of these people don’t know they have the virus,” said TDH HIV/STD Section Director Shanell L. McGoy, PhD, MPH. “The only way to know your HIV status is to get tested. Take the Test, Take Control.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Southern region of the United States accounts for 37 percent of the country’s population, yet nearly 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses are in this region. Tennessee is being recognized for efforts to reduce HIV infection rates and provide services to those living with HIV. Ms. McGoy and TDH Ryan White Part B Program Director Tonya King, MPA participated in the invitation-only Meeting on HIV in the Southern United States June 18 at the White House. Ms. King presented information about Tennessee’s array of services provided through the Ryan White program during a panel discussion on achieving impact at the local level. Ms. King noted that in 2013, Tennessee exceeded the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal to increase the number of Ryan White clients with permanent housing to 86 percent by 2015.
TDH statistics show the urgent need for increased efforts to prevent HIV, with cases reported in every county in Tennessee. In 2012, there were 923 new cases of HIV diagnosed in Tennessee. Since 1992, more than 25,000 Tennesseans have been diagnosed with HIV. Of that number, more than 19,000 Tennesseans are currently living with a diagnosis of HIV.
Anyone can obtain free, confidential HIV testing at Tennessee’s local health departments. Tennessee’s health department clinics also offer counseling with a trained health care provider on ways to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. A list of local county health departments is available at http://health.state.tn.us/localdepartments.htm.
Information on other sites that offer HIV testing can be found online at www.HIVtest.org. Mobile phone users can send a text message with their ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) and within seconds will receive a reply via text message identifying nearby testing sites.
Questions about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases can also be answered by calling the Tennessee HIV/STD Hotline at 1-800-525-2437.