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Local Testing Available for National HIV Testing Day

Free and low-cost testing will be offered June 26-28 throughout Santa Barbara County

Local clinics, nonprofits and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department have teamed up to provide free and low-cost HIV testing June 26-28 in recognition of National HIV Testing Day.

Nearly 1,000 Santa Barbara County residents have been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since the 1980s. In addition, 501 county residents have died from HIV/AIDS, and 461 people with the virus are known to be living in Santa Barbara County. Another 500 to 1,000 area residents may be infected and not know they have HIV.

People who have unprotected sex or share needles, and their sex partners, are at risk for contracting HIV.

“If you or your partners have engaged in risk behaviors, the only way to be sure you don’t have HIV is to get tested,” Santa Barbara County HIV test coordinator Fidel Villanueva said. “We see a growing number of people infected by partners who they think are monogamous or don’t inject drugs, and don’t know they have the virus until they become ill.”

The earlier a person is tested, the sooner he or she can get into treatment, maintain his or her health and reduce the chances of spreading the virus to someone else. The OraQuick rapid test involves a brief swab of the mouth and provides results in about 20 minutes. Urine and blood tests also are available.

Free or low-cost testing will be offered at the following locations:

» Santa Barbara Public Health Clinic, 345 Camino del Remedio, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 26

» Santa Maria Public Health Clinic, 2115 Centerpointe Pkwy., 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 26

» Lompoc Public Health Clinic, 301 North R St., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 25

» Santa Maria Public Library, 421 S. McClelland, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 27

» Guadalupe Veteran’s Hall, 1025 Guadalupe St., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 28

» Westside Medical Clinic, 628 W. Micheltorena, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 26

» Pacific Pride Foundation, 126 E. Haley, Suite A-11, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 26

» Planned Parenthood Santa Barbara, 518 Garden St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 26

» Planned Parenthood Santa Maria, 415 E. Chapel, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 26

Click here or call 805.681.5120 for more information.

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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