GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, the Kent County Health Department and the Grand Rapids Red Project are holding a free HIV testing and education event this Thursday.
It’ll take place from 2-6 p.m. in the parking lot across the street from the Kent County Sheldon Complex, according to a news release Tuesday.
Certified test counselors will be onsite to provide testing, answer questions and connect residents with additional services. There will also be music, food and free gifts.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the KCHD recommend everyone know their HIV status,” Public Health Program Supervisor April Hight said. “This knowledge is essential for getting helpful therapy and for protecting others from the virus.”
More than one million people in the U.S. live with HIV and one in eight people are infected with HIV without realizing it, according to the CDC.
Nearly 40 people are diagnosed with HIV in Kent County every year.
The only way for someone to know their status is to get tested.
HIV attacks the cells that make up the body’s immune system and can make it difficult for an infected individual to fight off diseases and, left untreated, it can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be fatal.
More information about HIV and AIDS can be found here.