Modified: June 27, 2016 10:39am
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date June 27, 2016
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
National HIV Testing Day
Get the facts, get tested, and get involved!
ERIE COUNTY, NY—Today is National HIV Testing Day and the Erie County Department of Health (“ECDOH”) encourages everyone to get tested.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), there are more than 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV. The CDC estimates that there are 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States. From 2012-2014, 289 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Erie County.
“Because of effective treatments, people are living long and healthy lives with HIV. It is extremely important to start treatment as soon as a person finds out that they are infected with HIV,” stated Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “Almost one in seven people are unaware of their infection. Over half of young people between the ages of 13-24 living with HIV are unaware of their infection. This is why we strongly encourage everyone to be tested to know their HIV status.”
ECDOH’s HIV Counseling & Testing program, located at 608 William St. in Buffalo, provides FREE HIV tests for Erie County residents. Confidential testing is available and teenagers do not need parental consent to have an HIV test. Testing services are available Monday through Thursday 8:30am-11:30am & 1:00pm-3:30 pm, and Friday 10:00 am-11:30 am and 1:00 pm-3:30 pm. No appointments are taken; patients are seen on a first come, first served walk-in basis. Contact the clinic at 716-858-7687 for additional information.
In addition, ECDOH offers a prevention option, PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who are not infected with HIV, but who are at substantial risk of infection, to prevent HIV infection by taking one pill every day. The medication (brand name Truvada®) is used in combination with other drugs to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injectable drug use, these medicines work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%.
PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. People who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and following up with their health care provider every 3 months. For more information on PrEP, please contact Patricia at 716-858-7942.
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