Today, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., Santa Barbara Public Health Clinic at 345 Camino del Remedio will be holding free HIV testing, offered by the Santa Barbara County HIV Testing Program.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 25 percent of people infected with HIV do not know they have the virus because they have not been tested. “HIV testing is critically important to curtailing the epidemic because if people know they have HIV they can take appropriate steps to maintain their own health and prevent infection of others. Without being tested, they can unknowingly spread the infection and not get needed treatment,” stated County Health Officer Dr. Elliot Schulman, in the press release.
For those who are afraid of needles, worry not: needles are not used with the OraQuick oral fluids swab test. Results come out in 20 minutes. There are trained counselors who help patients understand their results, learn about resources, and practice ways in which to reduce the risks.
Free and low-cost HIV testing is also available in other locations, including the following:
Santa Barbara Public Health Clinics in Lompoc, at 301 North R St. (737-7775) and in Santa Maria at 2115 S. Centerpointe Parkway (346-8410),
Pacific Pride Foundation in Santa Barbara at126 E. Haley (963-3636) and in Santa Maria at 819 W. Church St. (349-9947),
Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics at 628 W. Micheltorena St. (963-1546), at 915 Milpas (963-1641), at 970 Embarcadero del Mar (968-1511)
Planned Parenthood Santa Barbara, at 518 Garden Street (963-5801)
For more information on HIV and AIDS, visit the County Public Health website and go to the AIDS Prevention and Services page, or call (805) 681-5120.