COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – In observance of World AIDS Day, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will be sponsoring a free testing event at local health departments on Tuesday, December 1.
Clients will be able to get tested for HIV, STDs, and Hepatitis C at no cost.
Also on December 1, DHEC and Ending the Epidemics SC invites students, legislature representatives, healthcare workers, people living with HIV, the media, faith-based communities, and everyone across the state to participate in the World AIDS Day panel that will be held through the Ending the Epidemics SC Facebook page.
“Every county in the state has residents living with HIV, but many South Carolinians remain unaware of their HIV status because they have not received an HIV test…It is estimated 16% of the approximately 20,000 people living with HIV do not know their status, meaning that they will continue progressing to AIDS as well pose an infection risk to their loved ones and communities. We must work together to find and link these fellow South Carolinians to health care, for their sake and the sake of our communities.”Ali Mansaray, Director of DHEC’s STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis Division
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 90% of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people who have HIV and ensuring they receive prompt and ongoing care and treatment.
Officials say another important factor to ending the HIV epidemic is ensuring all people living with HIV are in a continuous system of medical care and treatment.
DHEC estimates nearly 6,000 people living with HIV are not currently receiving medical treatment.
Click here for more information on World AIDS Day.