Lake Area health agencies offering free HIV testing today for Na - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Area health agencies offering free HIV testing today for National HIV Testing Day

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

Today marks, National HIV Testing Day and free HIV testing will be available to the public on Today, June 27 in Lake Charles.

To bring awareness to this health crisis, both SLAC and SWLAHEC have partnered to provide free rapid HIV testing. 

Click HERE for an interactive quiz to see how much you know about the HIV virus. 

Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (196 Williamsburg Street, Lake Charles) and SLAC’s Resource and Wellness Center (808 Walters Street, Lake Charles) will take walk-in appointments from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at both locations.

The test is free, confidential, and only takes a small finger stick with results available in 20 minutes. 

Melissa Crosby and Brianna Fountain stopped by SLAC to get tested. 

For Crosby, it's become a habit: "I do it every year or every three months depending on my activity," she said.

Fountain and her boyfriend both got tested. 

"It's a scary thing if you don't know and you don't want to be passing it around to other people," Fountain said. "You can't live every day out here not knowing your status, especially if you are sexually active."

For many, it truly is a scary thing and many don't want to face it, but Darrell Latin knows firsthand the importance and benefit of getting tested.

"You have a longer life because you get the treatments that you need and it extends your life," he said. "With the new treatments that they have going on today people are living longer. People are living productive lives. Look at me," he said pointing at himself. "I've had it for over two decades and I am still living here."

According to the Louisiana Office of Public Health, as of December 31, 2016, there are 1,051 people currently living with HIV/AIDS in Southwest Louisiana.

About one in seven is the number of how many people living with HIV who don’t know that they carry the virus, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates.

To find out more information call (337) 439-5861 for the SLAC’s Resource and Wellness Center or (337) 478-4822 Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center.

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