Free and confidential HIV testing offered Tuesday at Avon
Red Ribbon Project is offering free, confidential HIV testing on Tuesday, March 22 at Doctors on Call in Avon, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary and walk-in visits are welcome, with results in 20 minutes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care, which also helps reduce stigma.
As we mark the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of HIV-related illness and death, we can see how far we have come since the days when an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. Today, according to the CDC, 98% of people living with HIV are on effective treatment and 97% cannot transmit the virus. About 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV. About 13% of them don’t know and need testing. HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. In 2019, approximately 34,800 new HIV infections occurred in the United States.
Recent research found that 63% of the public do not recall seeing or hearing about HIV in the past six months. One in five people think you can get HIV from kissing. Only 16% knew that if someone is on effective treatment, they cannot transmit HIV and can expect to live a long and healthy life.
Red Ribbon Project is a small, 26-year-old non-profit organization. When it started in 1996, its focus was HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in Eagle County. One of the cornerstones of the organization is the free, rapid and confidential HIV testing offered community-wide several times throughout the year.
Another cornerstone is the expanded focus to include comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual health education for students in grades five through 12. Red Ribbon Project is dedicated to providing education and services to keep our local people healthy and give them a safe place to ask questions.
The RRP fills the gaps that schools in the region cannot always fill on their own. The topics it focuses on are often the most difficult to discuss: age-appropriate sexual health education, the importance of STI/HIV testing, consent, risk behavior prevention strategies, all of which have helped reduce teen pregnancies by 80% in the past. 13 years. RRP draws on science and best practices to educate children in Eagle County, helping to provide them with the facts to make the best choices.
Getting tested for HIV shows that you care about yourself and your partner. It’s part of taking care of yourself. Are you sure you are negative? The only way to know for sure is to get tested. Coping with an HIV test may not be easy, but it’s the right thing to do. It is better to know so that you can act when needed.
How can you encourage others to get tested? Talk about that. Do you have teenagers or young adults you care about? Encourage them to get tested. Eliminate the stigma. Lead by example. Make sure they know that HIV affects people like us, not just “those people”. Fear of being judged keeps so many people from being tested. As a community, let’s take a stand against discrimination and stand up for each other.