Posted on June 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Wednesday, Jun 27 at 12:41 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday, June 27, 2012, is National HIV Testing Day. In San Antonio, it’s an attempt to raise awareness of a disease that still infects thousands of people in the city.
At the San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF), 818 E. Grayson, a quick mouth swab is all it takes for people to know the answer to an important question: Are you HIV positive or negative?
After 30 years of hearing about the disease, some people are complacent.
“People don’t hear about I like they did years ago in the 80s,” said Regina Villalobos, marketing director for SAAF. “When AIDS first came about, people died. And so people took notice to that.”
Just because HIV patients are living longer doesn’t mean there’s a cure. A simple oral swab with a Q-tip-like tester can provide invaluable information quickly.
“What we can do is actually alleviate a lot of the anxiety by giving the test results sooner, within 20 minutes,” explained Ricky Garcia, prevention educator with SAAF. “So we even like to tell people they can come on their lunch break.”
An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people in Bexar County have been diagnosed with HIV. However, about one in four people who have the virus don’t even know it.
People who test negative at SAAF are given free condoms and counseling on different kinds of disease prevention.
“It’s still a disease,” Villalobos stressed. “People still die from it. And it’s a preventable disease. And that’s the most important thing that we try and stress.”
SAAF offers free HIV testing six days a week. They recently started doing it on Saturdays. It’s confidential and you can get the results before you leave.