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11/22/2019 Of the 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV/AIDS, one in seven individuals does not know he/she is infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As World AIDS Day is observed on Dec. 1, it serves as a reminder for individuals to undergo HIV testing.

A common misconception is that HIV testing is part of standard blood work, but Jerry Rice, Manager of Home Nursing Agency’s AIDS Intervention Project (AIP), says that is not the case.

“In order to be tested for HIV, you must sign a specific consent form,” he says. “If you don’t remember signing this paper, you have not been tested. In that case we encourage individuals to take advantage of free and confidential testing that is available.”

The increasing prevalence of drug use significantly spreads the risk for HIV/AIDS. The CDC reports that HIV can live in a used needle for up to 42 days. With various risk factors for disease, the CDC advises that all people from ages 13-64 should be tested for HIV/AIDS once in their lifetime.

A lot of people don’t want to get tested because they think it will change their lives,” Rice explains. “There are so many resources available – from financial assistance to case management and more. “Being diagnosed and starting treatment early is very helpful in the long run.”

To find a free testing site, visit gettested.cdc.gov/.

Created in 1986, Home Nursing Agency’s AIDS Intervention Project is Pennsylvania’s oldest AIDS service provider. AIP promotes prevention of the spread of HIV and provides case management services for those affected with HIV/AIDS. Services include financial assistance, support groups, transportation, check-in visits and supportive phone calls for individuals throughout Bedford, Blair, Fulton and Huntingdon counties. All services are community-based and confidential. For more information about AIP, visit this page or call 814-944-2982.