If you’ve been putting off that HIV test, here’s your chance. From now through Friday, Los Angeles County is providing free, confidential HIV tests at a variety of locations. The L.A. County Department of Public Health stresses the importance of these tests, as new cases of HIV in Los Angeles are perpetuated by those who are unaware they are carrying the virus. While the disease has traditionally been relatively contained on a national level, recent trends indicate that it’s again on the rise. In 2006, the amount of HIV infections jumped 40% from the previous year. Minority groups have the most prevalent incidences of HIV; blacks contract the disease at seven times the rate of whites, while the rate for Hispanics is triple that of whites. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, condoms and testing were at the forefront of everyone’s mind. While most of us still realize the risks, testing seems perhaps to have fallen to the back burner for many. Has it for you? When was the last time you got tested? And what about safe sex? What precautions – if any – do you take to protect yourself and your partners? Do you “have the talk” or adhere to the no-glove-no-love policy with prospective partners? Are you taking more risks than you might have in the past? What about your friends? How relevant are the risks of contracting HIV in your world?
EraseDoubt.org provides a list of all the free testing centers in Los Angeles County.