Free HIV tests available at Chapel Hill street fair
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - This year’s Apple Chill Street Fair will include the traditional offerings such as face-painting and cloggers and one addition: free rapid HIV tests and results within 30 minutes.
Dr. Charles van der Horst, an infectious-disease physician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will provide the tests at Sunday’s event.
“HIV is a large problem in the United States and a growing problem,” van der Horst said Monday. “It’s on college campuses, it’s in high schools, and you know people don’t perceive themselves at risk. We don’t seem to be making any inroads into preventing outbreak on college campuses.”
While some peruse pottery, woodcrafts and jewelry displays on Franklin Street during the annual town festival on Sunday, van der Horst hopes others will find their way to the information tent that he and his helpers designed.
Health care workers will be there to swab the mouth of anyone seeking an HIV test in a private section of the tent, they also will offer pamphlets with all kinds of information about AIDS. Two physicians will be on hand, as will a physician’s associate and counselors.
The health care workers will schedule a follow-up appointment and blood test for anyone who gets a positive result from the quick test.
Mayor Kevin Foy said the idea is an ingenious way to raise AIDS awareness.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 850,000 Americans are living with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. Nearly 180,000 to 280,000 of them do not know they are infected, the CDC says.