Monday, June 23, 2003

Free HIV testing offered as public effort expands

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Several Tristate health organizations plan to offer free HIV testing Friday as part of National HIV Testing Day.

In some areas, the event will mark the first effort to expand public testing, now that an oral test method is available.

"It has to go beyond just one day. Awareness has to become a reality every day," said Mamie Harris, director of 4 CHARIS, a faith-based program that provides HIV testing. "But I run into so much skepticism. People always ask, 'Is this really a problem, or is this some kind of government plot?' "

The 4 CHARIS program, which does much of its testing through addiction treatment programs and local jails, has found 10 people in two years who didn't know they were infected.

In Southwest Ohio, testing can be obtained at: 4 CHARIS, 542-9730; AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, 421-2437; the Cincinnati Health Department, 357-7350; University Hospital, 558-8327; Planned Parenthood clinics, 287-6484; Hamilton City Health Department, 785-7080; Warren County Health Department, 695-1170; Middletown Social & Health Center, (513) 425-7955; and the Southern Ohio Health Services Network, 576-7700.

In Kentucky, the Northern Kentucky Health Department will offer free testing at two locations Friday - noon to 2 p.m. at B.F. Howard Park in Covington, and 3 to 5 p.m. at St. John United Church of Christ in Bellevue. Call (859) 341-4264.

In Southeast Indiana, HIV testing is offered through the Dearborn County AIDS Task Force of Southeast Central Indiana-Satellite Office in Lawrenceburg, (812) 537-6399; the Ohio County Health Department in Rising Sun, (812) 438-2551; and Rising Sun Medical Center, (812) 438-2555.



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