ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Your next dental visit might be a good time to get an HIV test.
The University of Rochester’s Eastman Dental Clinic is now offering free HIV testing to its patients.
“I’m excited that we’re offering it, and I wish that more patients would not fear the unknown but embrace the knowledge whether they’re positive or negative," said Vera Graham, Eastman Dental HIV project coordinator.
The CDC says one in eight Americans with HIV don't know they're infected. Those who don’t see a doctor regularly are at higher risk.
“This type of screening in an urgent care type of clinic is very important to identify those person who have HIV but remain undiagnosed, so we can link them to health care," said Dr. Yan-Fang Ren, Eastman Dental Urgent Care director.
Eastman earned a state grant to cover the testing for the next 15 months. It’s part of Governor Cuomo’s initiative to end the HIV epidemic in New York state by the year 2020.
The rapid test is a simple mouth swab, no needles involved. Preliminary results are ready in 20 minutes. The clinic says testing is crucial even for people who don't think they're at risk.
“We serve a diverse community," Graham said. "The patients that I have seen that are positive come from all over. It doesn’t discriminate. I’ve seen all ages, all races, all socioeconomic groups. It doesn’t discriminate. It’s wiser to know than not to know.”
Eastman Dental operates locations at the University of Rochester on Elmwood Avenue, in the Sibley Building, and at School 17.