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Free testing offered as part of World AIDS Day Tuesday

With more than 2,000 people living with HIV in the El Paso area, testing continues to be an important way to prevent the spread of the disease locally and around the world. That is why the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is commemorating World AIDS Day 2015 with free HIV as well as Syphilis testing.

Free tests will be administered on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 222 South Campbell Street, Suite 105 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Last year there were 4,405 new HIV diagnoses reported in the state of Texas, with 109 new cases reported in the El Paso area,” said JoAnna Arriola, Disease Intervention Supervisor. “We can make a difference in our community, state, and ultimately the world if we all just got tested and knew our status.”

World AIDS Day was first held in 1988 and was the first ever global health day.  World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those we’ve lost.

The HIV Prevention Program provides culturally-sensitive, quality customer service to individuals who seek testing for HIV and Syphilis.  Counseling services are also provided, as well as referrals to other programs if needed.

More information on HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases is available at www.EPHealth.com or by calling 915-212-6665.

Additionally, in observation of World AIDS Day, Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe (La Fe) will host a free HIV testing, awareness, and education event from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 at the La Fe Culture and Technology Center (CTC), 721 S. Ochoa (Rear Building).

State-certified HIV educators and testers from the La Fe CARE Center — the region’s largest comprehensive HIV/ AIDS treatment and education facility — will be onsite to provide free, rapid HIV testing and prevention information in English and Spanish. Anyone 13-years-of-age and older can receive a free HIV Test without parental permission.

The Rapid HIV testing used by the La Fe CARE Center requires only a few drops of blood and delivers a 99.9 percent accurate result in 60 seconds.

A free screening of the film “Silent Shame” (Rated R) will take place atnoon inside the La Fe CTC’s auditorium. The 1999 independent film by Proud Latina Productions tells the story of a young Hispanic man who must come to terms with his family’s struggles with HIV.

The La Fe CARE Center, established in 1999, currently provides medical and case-management services to more than 1,000 HIV/ AIDSpatients. It is the region’s only AIDS Education and Training Center of Texas (AETC) certified facility.

According to the La Fe CARE Center (1505 Mescalero) its fastest-rising demographics for new HIV diagnoses are: Married and Heterosexual Latinas ages 14 to 30; Hispanic Youth ages 14 to 25; and El Pasoans ages 55 and up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that for every individual diagnosed as HIV-Positive there are three to five others within that same community who remain undiagnosed and medically untreated. “Getting tested for HIV is a brave first step toward taking care of yourself and your loved ones. Each of us needs to get educated about HIV/ AIDS. We need to talk openly with our partners — and especially with our children — about prevention,” La Fe CEO Salvador Balcorta said.

For More Information about this event or HIV/ AIDS prevention, testing, and resources, the public may contact the La Fe CARE Center’s HIV Testing and Education Department at (915) 772-3366 or 545-7183 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What are the risks for getting HIV?

 • Not knowing facts or personal risk • Having sex
• Having sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs • Multiple sex partners
• Injecting drugs • No condom use
• No testing history

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