News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 4, 2010
Health Department to have special HIV testing clinic Feb. 5
Over the last five years, more than 1,000 people in the Kansas City metro area have been newly diagnosed with HIV. Though blacks make up less than 13 percent of the 11-county area covered by the Ryan White grants, 46 percent of new HIV cases diagnosed in 2007 through 2009 were in black men and women. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that one in five people currently infected with HIV do not know their HIV status.
In recognition of the Feb. 7 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department will have a special HIV testing clinic on Friday, Feb. 5. The clinic will include free, confidential HIV testing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Health Department atrium, 2400 Troost Ave. Rapid 20-minute HIV testing will be available, as well as testing for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. An information booth will be staffed in the atrium during the clinic.
“So many people in our own community do not know their HIV status,” said Councilman Terry Riley, 5th District. “It’s important to know your HIV status and have a frank discussion about HIV with your partner, so you can take steps to protect your health and your partner’s health as well.”
By seeking medical care, HIV patients can reduce the impact of HIV on their health, substantially increase their lifespan, and improve their quality of life.
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care. Testing once per year (or more frequently) is recommended for people at high risk, such as men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users, or people with multiple sexual partners.
“Over the last two years, we have seen a shift in new cases reported locally, with more new cases showing up in younger black men than before,” said Ron Griffin, division manager for Communicable Disease Prevention at the Health Department. “However, it is important to remember that it’s not who you are that puts you at risk, it’s what you do. You need to take steps to protect yourself. If you have had sex with more than one person since you were last tested or are in a new relationship, you really need to get tested again.”
Free testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases is available daily in the Health Department’s STD clinic. Testing is available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointments are preferred and will shorten wait times, but walk-ins are welcome. To schedule an appointment for testing during the regular daily clinic hours, call (816) 513-6379.
Media inquiries on this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).