Local Effort to Mark National HIV Testing Day in Milwaukee
June 27, 2016, is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognized observance day which was created to serve as a reminder to get the facts, get tested and get involved to take care of yourself and your partners. In Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Center for Health and Wellness, Inc. in collaboration with several other community partners will host National HIV Testing Day on Monday June 27, 2016 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at Ross Innovative Employment Services (6650 N. 76th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53223.) The general public is strongly encouraged to attend this free event to get educated and tested for HIV and STDs.
According to the Wisconsin /AIDS Surveillance Annual Review, during 2015 HIV cases were diagnosed in 33 of the 72 Wisconsin counties. Milwaukee County accounted for 53% of the newly diagnosed cases. Additionally, Milwaukee is disproportionately impacted by HIV as it makes up just 10% of the state's population yet has 47% of all statewide HIV diagnoses. The Centers for Disease Control reports show that nationally 12.8% of people living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status. However, for Wisconsin the percentage of HIV unaware is 16.2%. This indicates an ongoing need for creating many more pathways to HIV testing, prevention education and access to treatment.
"We are at a critical point in the history of HIV testing, prevention and treatment now that we have a biomedical intervention for individuals who may be at risk known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). PrEP is one of many effective tools to address a matter that affects many people regardless of age, race, gender or sexual preference," states Ericka Sinclair, Founder and CEO of Greater Milwaukee Center for Wellness, Inc. "It is important that people are aware of community resources and where to go to access care."
Free HIV testing using a rapid HIV test where results are obtained in about 20 minutes. Free urine-based STI testing will also take place. Condom distribution, information on PrEP and other prevention methods will be available, along with community resources tables with other health related information. Partnering agencies include participating Milwaukee agencies and organizations include 16th Street Clinic, ARCW, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Diverse and Resilient, Inc., Milwaukee Health Services Inc., Neighborhood House, Outreach Community Health Center, Pathfinders Milwaukee, PATCH Milwaukee, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin, Monroe Inc., and UMOS.