Aunt Martha’s to Observe World AIDS Day

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- This year, an estimated 56,300 people will be infected with HIV in the United States. One in 5 of the more than one million people living with HIV is unaware of his or her infection. This year, in recognition of World AIDS Day on December 1, Aunt Martha’s encourages all citizens of Illinois to get tested for HIV.

"The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested," Nikki Moody, HIV Prevention Coordinator at Aunt Martha’s said. "You could have HIV and still feel healthy."

It’s especially important to get tested regularly if you are at high risk of infection. Get tested for HIV at least once a year if you:

  • Have unprotected sex (sex without a condom) with someone who might have HIV.
  • Have sex with men who have sex with men.
  • Use drugs with needles.
  • Have a sex partner who is HIV-positive.
  • Have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

In recognition of World AIDS Day 2011, Aunt Martha’s HIV Prevention Program will host a day-long event at the agency’s office in downtown Park Forest (440 Forest Blvd., Park Forest, IL) on Friday, December 2nd.

Aunt Martha’s will offer needle-less HIV tests at no charge between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There is no need to schedule an appointment.

"A lot of people are more afraid of needles than they are of the actual test results," Moody said. "But with the tests we use in our HIV Prevention Program, all we have to do is put a something similar to a cotton swab in the client’s mouth."

Another advantage of the tests Aunt Martha’s uses is that the results are available almost immediately, said Moody.

"We typically have the results in 15 or 20 minutes," Moody said. "There’s none of the waiting and wondering that you have to go through when a doctor draws your blood and sends it to the lab while you sit at home waiting for the phone to ring."

Of course, if knowing your test results isn’t enough to keep you around, Aunt Martha’s will also conduct a raffle on the day of the event. What’s the catch? If you don’t get tested, you can’t win!

For more information, contact Aunt Martha’s HIV Prevention Program at (708) 679-8192; or visit the agency online at www.auntmarthas.org. To find an HIV testing location near you, text your zip code to KNOWIT (566948) or use this online locator (http://aids.gov/locator/).

About Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center

Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center is a private, not-for-profit agency providing complete health care and social services for family members of all ages in underserved communities across Illinois. Established in 1972, Aunt Martha’s services radiate from sites in 15 counties throughout Illinois. The agency serves more than 90,000 children and adults annually. It is state licensed to provide child welfare, substance abuse treatment and child care services. All of Aunt Martha’s services, including mental health and primary health care, are Joint Commission accredited.