Have you been tested for HIV?
If the answer is no, the Iowa Department of Health wants you to change that. The Department is trying to find the hundreds of Iowans whom public health workers believe do not know they are living with HIV.
“In Iowa we have a lot of people who don’t expect themselves to be infected, so they get a diagnosis late,” said Randy Mayer, Iowa Dept. of Health Bureau Chief for HIV/AIDS, STD and Hepatitis.
The earlier a person is introduced to care, the less likely they are to pass on the virus. It can be ten years after being infected before people show any symptoms, and they may be passing on the virus during that time.
Everyone should be tested at least once, Mayer said, even if they don’t have any current risk factors. People with risk factors – which include having sex without a condom and sharing needles – should be tested regularly.
The Iowa Dept. of Health estimates about 2,800 Iowans are infected with HIV. About 2,200 of them have been diagnosed.
Across the United States, there are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
University of Iowa senior Steven Williams is trying to raise awareness that HIV is still a domestic issue.
“There’s this idea that its not here in America anymore, that it’s not an issue,” Williams said. “But that’s not true.”
The campus branch has teamed up with a coalition of other student organizations to organize IC Red Week in honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
During the week’s activities, from Dec. 2 to 8, two AIDS Quilts from the Names Project Foundation will be on display in the Kendall Gallery of the Iowa Memorial Union. Each quilt panel is dedicated to a person who died of AIDS.
Locations in Johnson and Linn Counties that offer confidential, free or low-cost HIV testing:
Emma Goldman Clinic, 227 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City.
Phone: (319) 337-2111 or 800 848-7684
Iowa City Free Medical Clinic, 2440 Towncrest Drive, Iowa City
Phone: 319 337-4459
Johnson County Public Health, Health & Human Services Building, Community Health, Suite 217, 855 S. Dubuque Street, Iowa City
Phone: 319 356-6038
Linn County Public Health, 501 13th Street, N.W., Cedar Rapids
Phone: 319 892-6000
IC Red Week schedule:
Monday: “Yesterday” movie screening, 7 p.m., Michigan Room, Iowa Memorial Union
Tuesday: IC Red Week information table, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hubbard Commons, IMU
Wednesday: Eat at Which Wich to raise money for the University of Iowa HIV/AIDS clinic. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 23 S. Dubuque St.
Thursday: IC Red Affair, 8 p.m., Old Brick, 26 E. Market St. Cost: students $5, public $7. Dress to impress – a cocktail party featuring food, music, silent auction and red carpet. Money raised will go to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Foundation.
Friday: Rave Awareness, 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Currier Multi-Purpose Room, 100 Currier Hall. Money raised will go to PITCH (Positive Iowans Taking Charge). There will be free food, music, and a raffle.
Saturday: HIV/AIDS Panel, 3 to 5 p.m., W10 Pappajohn Business Building.
Mirage: Condom Casino, 9 p.m., second floor ballroom, IMU. Games, music, drag show and more.