(PR) -- On June 27, Medical Advocacy and Outreach (MAO) joins organizations across the nation in observance of National HIV Testing Day. National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) has been nationally observed since 1995. Given the impact of HIV on the lives of every human around the globe, NHTD serves to encourage activities that foster people of all ages to get tested for HIV; to learn the difference between popular myths and the facts about HIV transmission; and to become agents for removing the stigma that continues to prevent many from receiving life-saving care. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that can lead to AIDS. No one is immune to HIV regardless of age, activity, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith, or political beliefs. Unlike 30 years ago, a list of treatment options exist; however, you must first know if you are living with HIV. In the United States, 1 in 7 people living with HIV don't know they have it. Southern states bear the greatest burden of HIV. Even if you don’t feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important and will help you live a longer, healthier life. Treatment also makes it less likely that you will pass HIV on to other people. If your test indicates you have not been exposed to HIV, there are options to help you keep it that way.
MAO offers FREE walk-in HIV testing at its clinic sites in Montgomery and Dothan during regular office hours, and, by appointment, at its Atmore location. To further increase testing convenience on June 27, 2019, MAO has joined forces with the national Greater Than AIDS campaign and Walgreens to offer testing at multiple Walgreens locations in South Alabama. Consider visiting any of the following locations on June 27th for your FREE, FAST, and CONFIDENTIAL HIV test.
Medical Advocacy & Outreach (MAO) Locations (8:30 AM to Noon and 1 PM to 7:30 PM):
• Montgomery, Alabama - 2900 McGehee Road, Montgomery, Alabama 36111
• Dothan, Alabama - 1865 Honeysuckle Road, Ste. 2, Montgomery, Alabama 36305
Alternative Medical Advocacy & Outreach (MAO) Locations (Call 251-321-0818 for an appointment.):
• Atmore, Alabama – 1321 South Main Street, Ste. 2, Atmore, Alabama 36502
Walgreens Locations (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
• Walgreens Store #6843, located at 2281 E SOUTH BLVD MONTGOMERY, AL 36116
• Walgreens Store #13111, located at 3574 MONTGOMERY HWY DOTHAN, AL 36303
• Walgreens Store #10761, located at 1504 S MAIN ST ATMORE, AL 36502
If possible, consider visiting MAO’s 2900 McGehee Road location in Montgomery on National Testing Day between 2 PM and 7 PM. The first twenty-five (25) individuals to visit MAO’s Montgomery location between these hours, receives their first HIV test, and completes an anonymous onsite survey about their experience with stigma will receive a Regions Bank Gift Card. The Gift Card can be used anywhere.
If you would like to play a part in supporting activities such as these as well as efforts to provide direct care and assistance to those living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and diabetes in South Alabama, consider registering and supporting the Tread Red Walk and Fun Run on September 14, 2019 in Montgomery. Tread Red is the largest fund-raising and awareness activity hosted by MAO each year. More information can be found at MAOI.ORG or pick up information on National HIV Testing Day. What would you Tread Red for?
Additionally, if you do get tested for HIV on June 27th, consider sharing your positive testing story or another message of support for those living with HIV on social media using #DoingItMyWay. MAO actively supports the CDC’s national DoingItMyWay Campaign, which highlights how and why people make testing part of their lives—on their terms and in their way. Doing It My Way encourages individuals to share their personal testaments of why testing is important, what motivates them to get tested and stay healthy, and how they get tested—be it at home, at the clinic, or with the company of a friend or loved one.
MORE ON NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY
National HIV Testing Day was created in 1995 by the former National Association of People with AIDS. Many of NAPWA’s pioneering efforts continue to inspire national and global efforts by private organizations and government agencies to educate the human race about HIV; to advance medical science in the hope of finding a cure; and to eliminate barriers to treatment and life-sustaining care.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States:
• An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2016. Of those people, about 14%, or 1 in 7, did not know they were infected.
• In 2017, 38,739 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States and dependent areas.
• Young people aged 13 to 24 are especially affected by HIV. In 2017, young people accounted for 21% of new HIV diagnoses.
• Nearly half of people in the United States living with diagnosed HIV are aged 50 and older. Though new HIV diagnoses are declining among people aged 50 and older, around 1 in 6 HIV diagnoses in 2016 were in this group. They have the same HIV risk factors as younger people, but may be less aware of their HIV risk factors. Older Americans are more likely to receive a diagnosis of HIV infection later in the course of illness.
Even with advancements in treatment and testing, the fact remains, many still do not get tested or adhere to routine care. However, stigma is the real killer. Many do not get tested, or wait to get tested long after their health has deteriorated because of fears stemming from stigma.
To learn more about National HIV Testing Day, future events, and the services offered by Medical Advocacy and Outreach (MAO), visit MAOI.ORG or call (800) 510-4704. Don’t forget to like and follow @MAOofAlabama on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Medical Advocacy and Outreach (MAO) is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization providing comprehensive specialty medical and behavioral healthcare, social services, community health education, and provider professional development to benefit individuals living with chronic illnesses, including HIV, in South Alabama.