Confidential HIV Tests in Sonoma County
Face to Face Adds Rapid Oral Testing
to its HIV Prevention Efforts
Confidential HIV test with results in 20 minutes
In acknowledgement of World AIDS Day in December, Face to Face, a local non-profit organization serving Sonoma County since 1983, is now offering confidential rapid oral HIV testing every Tuesday, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. No appointment is needed. A donation of $15 is requested, but no one will be denied due to inability to pay. The donations will be used to support expanding the program.
The Face to Face office is located at 873 Second Street in Santa Rosa. The new testing program is a partnership with another local non-profit, Drug Abuse Alternatives Center (DAAC), where the test is also available. The collaboration is an effort to expand accessibility and outreach, and make it easier for anyone to get tested and receive their results in just 20 minutes.
Sonoma County Department of Public Health estimates that there are more than 2,000 Sonoma County residents living with HIV. Recent studies estimate that approximately 25% of people infected with HIV are not aware that they have the virus, and are largely responsible for new infections. Studies also show that once a person finds out they are HIV+, they will likely change their behaviors, including practicing safer sex. It is also very important for an HIV+ person to get early treatment for the disease which has improved survival rates dramatically. Excellent medical treatment and supportive services are available in Sonoma County from a coalition of HIV service providers including Face to Face and DAAC.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults and adolescents receive routine screening for HIV, and that those at high risk for HIV should be tested annually.
“Despite the government’s elimination of HIV prevention funding, we must find ways to inform and educate everyone in our community” stated Rick Dean, Executive Director of Face to Face. “We are relying on our volunteers to distribute condoms and educational materials as well as speaking in the local schools.” Face to Face’s Speakers Bureau goes into classrooms with accurate and age-appropriate information. A Health Educator gives the facts on HIV and how the virus is transmitted, and a Positive Speaker (a person living with HIV/AIDS) talks about their personal experience. “The speakers put a real face on the epidemic, and the students listen in a completely different way” says Dean. “We are very excited to add HIV testing to our prevention program and plan to expand the days and hours of availability as staff and volunteers are trained to be test counselors.”
In addition to HIV prevention, Face to Face serves nearly 600 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County with a variety of services including housing, transportation to medical appointments, benefits counseling and case management.
For more information, log onto: http://www.f2f.org/