WAKE COUNTY, N.C. – Sunday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day, and some organizations are looking to increase testing numbers.
HIV testing has gone down since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in some counties by more than 50%, according to North Carolina Health News. With healthcare workers focused on the coronavirus and smaller organizations having to close their doors, HIV testing took a back seat.
Beyond the past year, Melissa Haithcox-Dennis, Executive Director of Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina said additional barriers keep people from taking the test.
"The ability to get to a testing site, or they're scared to go to a testing site, or it's financially a barrier," said Haithcox-Dennis.
Haithcox-Dennis said it's best to get your results sooner because in the first three to six months of being infected is when you're most infectious.
According to the CDC, the first cases of the illness that would be defined as AIDS were reported on June 5, 1981. That was 40 years ago this June. Haithcox-Dennis said in the past 20 years, she has seen improvements in the technology of testing and prevention.
"A long time ago, [there were] very few drugs. It moved to taking a cocktail of many, many drugs - many pills throughout the day, and now it can be only one," said Haithcox-Dennis.
The nonprofit, Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina has free resources and testing available Monday through Friday. The organization will be at Pride as a Highway Parade at Dix Park in Raleigh on Sunday offering confidential testing.
Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina will also have a rummage sale on Saturday, June 26 from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Haithcox-Dennis said the proceeds will go toward making sure they can continue to offer free and accessible resources to the community.