Columbia, S.C. – To mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will provide free HIV and STD testing at various public health departments on Tuesday, February 6. DHEC urges everyone in South Carolina, regardless of race or ethnicity, to use this opportunity for free testing to stay informed about their HIV and STD status.
About National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, celebrated on February 7 each year, focuses on the advances in preventing and treating HIV, especially among African Americans who are more impacted by the virus than other groups. This day also reminds people living with HIV about the importance of starting, continuing, or returning to treatment.
“Among those for whom we have data on their race, African Americans account for 67 percent of the total number of people living with diagnosed HIV in South Carolina, though they represent only 26 percent of the state’s total population,” said Ali Mansaray, director for the division of STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis in the press release.
“Additionally, among people newly diagnosed with HIV, excluding those with an unknown or other race, 59 percent are African Americans, which is another grave disproportionate burden. It is important to promote testing and prevention messages to reach those who have not yet been tested and don’t know their HIV status.”
DHEC is working hard on the “Ending the Epidemics” mission in South Carolina. This plan aims to lower new cases of HIV, STDs, and hepatitis C, help those affected get medical care, improve health outcomes for people with HIV/AIDS through viral suppression, and focus on prevention methods.
It’s vital for everyone—individuals, families, groups, and whole communities—to join in the effort to stop HIV. This means fighting stigma, encouraging testing, and taking steps to support this cause.
For free HIV/STD testing on February 6, you can book by calling 1-855-4-SCDHEC (1-855-472-3432) or using the online tool at www.scdhec.gov/HIVLocator. Tests include checks for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
Although February 6 offers free tests, DHEC advises anyone at risk for HIV and other STDs to get tested regularly. This helps in accessing prevention and treatment options early. DHEC health departments provide testing every day. For booking, call 1-855-472-3432 or use the Web Chat online scheduling.
To learn more about HIV and AIDS, please click here.