HIV/AIDS Testing

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

"It is placed in between the gum and the cheek. It is absorbing the antibodies."

Ingham County Health Department's Lead HIV Investigator, Sheila Christian, demonstrates "Orasure." It's one of two ways to be tested for HIV/AIDS.

"Some people still think it's only the disease of certain populations. You know anybody can be infected with HIV," says Sharon Walker, the ICHD's HIV Coordinator.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, there are about 900 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in our state every year.

"HIV in Ingham County, we currently have 500 cases, and each year we have about 30 new cases that we find in the county," Walker explains.

She says there are probably even more cases of the disease in our area, but people just aren't getting tested.

"The earlier you test, the earlier you're identified, the better your quality of life is going to be," she says.

"People who are at high risk are men who have sex with men, IV drug users, people who share needles," explains Christian.

Currently black males, across Mid-Michigan and the entire country, are diagnosed more often than any other population.

"Like in many other health conditions, minorities are disproportionately affected with health conditions and HIV is just an example."

Still Walker says everyone, between the ages of 13-64, should be tested at least once in their lifetime.

The ICHD is offering free HIV testing on Tuesday & Wednesday, June 26th & 27th between 8:30am-5pm. For more information call 517-887-4424.


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