The Indiana State Department of Health is assisting the Scott County Health Department in offering extended hours for HIV testing and other services Friday, April 29, at the One-Stop Shop in Austin.
The outreach center located at 825 N. Hwy 31 in Austin will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday in addition to its normal hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. The extended hours are part of a periodic retesting effort designed to ensure that Scott County residents know their HIV status and can receive appropriate medical care.
Since early 2015, 191 people have tested positive for HIV in an outbreak traced to injection drug users who shared needles. Of those individuals, 93 percent are co-infected with hepatitis C.
“I urge anyone who is engaging in high-risk behaviors but hasn’t been tested recently to take advantage of the extended hours this week to ensure that they know their HIV status,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “While the rate of new HIV infections in Scott County has slowed dramatically, it’s important to remain vigilant and ensure that those at risk are taking the steps necessary to protect themselves and their community.”
HIV can take up to three months to diagnose, depending on the test that is used and how long it takes the virus to multiply in a person’s body.Individuals who have engaged in high-risk behavior such as needle sharing and unprotected sex are advised to get tested and then retested every two to three months as long as they are engaging in those behaviors.
Anyone who is tested for HIV will receive education about the disease and information about where to obtain preventive treatment. In addition to testing, the One-Stop Shop offers assistance to residents who need state-issued ID cards and birth certificates, want to enroll in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0, are seeking immunizations or are in need of referrals for substance abuse treatment.
To prevent HIV infection, avoid injection drug use, sharing or re-using needles or works, engaging in unprotected sex and engaging in sex with commercial sex workers.
Individuals seeking help with substance abuse should call the national 24-hour addiction hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This hotline provides confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mentalhealth and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
To learn more about the link between HIV infection and drug abuse, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse at http://hiv.drugabuse.gov/index.html.
Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1. Hoosiers who do not have health care coverage or access to a doctor are encouraged to check availability for the new Healthy Indiana Plan–HIP 2.0–by visiting www.HIP.IN.gov or calling 1-877-GET-HIP-9.