National HIV Testing Day Raises Awareness

National HIV Testing Day Raises Awareness
By: Crystal Britt

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - We all know HIV is out there, but sometimes it takes special days set aside like National HIV Testing Day to remind us. Here's a scary thought: an estimated 250,000 people in the United States have HIV/aids and don't even know it.
The big issues is people are afraid of the test,or they're embarrassed. Today, Heartland News Reporter Crystal Britt got tested, to show you just how simple it is.
It starts in a private room with only a nurse. She asks Crystal some basic questions, then runs through HIV risk factors...like sexual assault, sex with an HIV positive partner, or having sex while using drugs.
"We'd go into what kind of sex: oral, anal sex, vaginal sex," said Charlotte Craig, Director of the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center. 
They're pretty personal questions, but you shouldn't be embarrassed.
"We would fire someone who broke the confidentiality, it is extraordinarily confidential," said Craig. 
Next, Crystal authorizes the test with her signature. Then, the nurse draws blood. Only a small prick, and it's over. It only took a few minutes.
"If you fall into categories it's perfectly legitimate for you to come and get tested." Especially for your own peace of mind. "It's easier to do the test then to sit and worry," said Craig.
They didn't actually send off Crystal's blood because she doesn't have any risk factors, but if she had, the results would be back in two weeks. She was given a personal code that she would bring back to find the results.
The important thing is though, if you have risk factors you'll need to be tested more than once, just to make sure. Contact your local health department for details.