HIV testing proves critical in fight against chronic condition - WSMV Channel 4

HIV testing proves critical in fight against chronic condition

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Thursday marks HIV Testing Day - a time meant to increase awareness about a chronic condition. While there's no known cure for HIV, it can be treated, but first you have to know what you're dealing with.

HIV is a real issue in Tennessee, with 877 new cases of HIV diagnosed in the state in 2011. Since the early 1990s, more than 24,000 Tennesseans have been diagnosed with HIV and more than 17,000 people in the state are currently living with HIV.

Dr. Tim Jones, with the Tennessee Department of Health, said just like advances in the treatment of HIV over the years, there have been big changes in the way people are tested.

Jones said getting tested is easy, and it includes either a routine blood test or a swab in the cheek.

And there is a new trend with home testing kits found at most drug stores for about $50.

Doctors say it's all about options.

"Some of them are hesitant to be tested or don't want to bring it up to their healthcare provider. Some are in denial. Anything we can do to get people tested and get into care is important," said Dr. William Schaffner, with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Schaffner said there's a window period of about three months in which your results on a home testing kit may not be accurate. So he said that's another reason it may be important to visit a doctor or clinic.

Through Sunday, June 29, the state health department is partnering with Walgreens to provide free HIV testing at the following locations:

  • 1081 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville
  • 5600 Charlotte Pike, Nashville
  • 2611 Franklin Pike, Nashville
  • 627 Gallatin Pike South, Madison
  • 1202 S. James Campbell Blvd., #24, Columbia
  • 3605 Brainerd Rd., Chattanooga
  • 214 Broad St., Elizabethton
  • 1420 W. Stone Dr., Kingsport
  • 4001 Chapman Hwy., Knoxville
  • 2400 N. Broadway St., Knoxville
  • 1359 Poplar Ave., Memphis
  • 4155 S. Third St., Memphis
  • 1130 S. Bellevue Blvd., Memphis
  • 1489 Airways Blvd., Memphis
  • 3360 N. Watkins St., Memphis

To see a list of local county health departments, visit: http://health.state.tn.us/localdepartments.htm.

Information on other sites that offer HIV testing can be found at: http://www.HIVtest.org. Mobile phone users can send a text message with their ZIP code to "KNOWIT" (566948) and within seconds will receive a reply via text message identifying nearby testing sites.

Questions about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases can also be answered by calling the Tennessee HIV/STD Hotline at 1-800-525-2437.

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