Thursday, July 24, 2014 · 6:40 a.m.

Walgreens to provide free HIV testing

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The Walgreens on Brainerd Road will offer free HIV tests June 27-29. (Photo: CDC, MGNOnline)

Free HIV testing will be offered at Walgreens stores across the state June 27-29 in conjunction with National HIV Testing Day (which is June 27). 

The Tennessee Department of Health is joining a coalition of health providers and partners across the nation for this observance. Greater Than AIDS is teaming with Walgreens and the Department of Health to provide this testing. 

TDH encourages all sexually active Tennesseans, regardless of age, to get tested. 

“We urge all Tennesseans who are sexually active to take responsibility for their health and the health of their partners by knowing their HIV status and making HIV testing a standard part of their health routine,” TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, said in a prepared statement. “This knowledge is crucial to slowing the epidemic of HIV and AIDS in our state, our nation and the world.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate nearly a quarter of a million Americans are now living with HIV but don’t know it,” Carolyn Wester, MD, MPH, medical director of the state’s HIV/AIDS/STD section, said in a prepared statement. “Early diagnosis and treatment save lives and reduce the spread of HIV. With increased accessibility through this program and others like it, we will continue to reduce the impact of HIV on the people of Tennessee and the U.S.”

Cases have been reported in every county in Tennessee, and an average of two individuals are diagnosed in the state every day. In 2011, 877 new cases of HIV were diagnosed, and more than 24,000 have been diagnosed since 1992. Of that number, more than 17,000 Tennesseans are currently living with a diagnosis of HIV. 

The testing is free, confidential and open to anyone. Health department clinics across the state also offer confidential and free HIV testing, as well as counseling with a trained health care provider on ways to reduce the risk of getting HIV.

Other online information on HIV testing can be found here. Mobile phone users can text a message with their ZIP code to KNOWIT and receive a text message containing nearby test sites. Finally, residents can call 1-800-525-2437 for information about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. 

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