June 20, 2000
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 200,000 Americans are living with undiagnosed HIV/AIDS at a time when early diagnosis and treatment can keep people healthy and active for many years.
To encourage diagnosis, Carol Hilton and colleagues at Johns Hopkins will offer free, confidential urine and saliva testing for HIV in the parking lot of the Pillar of Truth Christian Community Church from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m on Tuesday, June 27. The church is located at 2522 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Md. A cookout will accompany the event.
"HIV and AIDS have not gone away," says Hilton. "We still need to get the word out that if you've shared needles or had high-risk unprotected sex, you need to get tested." Maryland has the fourth highest annual AIDS incidence rate of any state and Baltimore has the seventh highest rate of any major metropolitan area. Test results will be available on July 4. Individuals who test positive (and have been infected with HIV in the past year) may be eligible for a study of whether early treatment will prevent and/or repair damage to the immune system caused by HIV infection. Those accepted for the study will get the latest drug therapy and free HIV care at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as reimbursement for transportation. Other individuals who test positive will also be referred for appropriate health care.
June 27 was designated as National HIV Testing Day by the CDC in order to promote testing among high-risk groups. Information on HIV and AIDS, including where to find Maryland's 57 testing centers, is posted at www.hivtest.org. Information on free HIV testing from Hopkins is available by calling 410-614-1921.