World AIDS Day Community Event: Free HIV and Hepatitis C Testing Offered

News Release, St. Mary’s County Health Department

LEONARDTOWN, MD (November 25, 2019) – In recognition of World AIDS Day, the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) will host an open house on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at their Harm Reduction Program office, located at 46035 Signature Lane in Lexington Park. 

FREE HIV screenings, Hepatitis C screenings, and flu shots (6 months and older, while supplies last) will be offered at this open event. All community members are invited to stop by to learn about the impact of HIV/AIDS, SMCHD’s Harm Reduction Syringe Services Program, the St. Mary’s County Overdose Response Program, and other community services available to our residents. The following partner organizations will be tabling the event with information and resources:

  • NP Family Practice
  • Pathways, Inc. 
  • On Our Own of St. Mary’s County
  • PFLAG Leonardtown
  • Baltimore Area Community Health Services (B.A.C.H.S. Healthcare)

The League of Women Voters of St. Mary’s County will also offer voter registration. 

For more information, please call the Harm Reduction Program office at (301) 862-1680 or visit www.smchd.org/harmreduction

WHAT IS WORLD AIDS DAY?

World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day.

WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY IMPORTANT?

Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today. About 15% of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

World AIDS Day mobilizes organizations and individuals across the world to bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ending the HIV epidemic. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Show your support by wearing a red ribbon, participating in a community event, or getting tested! Share your support on social media using #WAD2019.

WHY SHOULD I GET TESTED?

Knowing your HIV status can give you peace of mind—and testing is the only way you can know for sure. Knowing your status is also important because it helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 gets tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and that people with certain risk factors get tested more often. Testing for HIV can give you important information and help keep you and others safe.


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