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Take The AIDS Test and Take Control: AID Atlanta and Local Partners Host National Events

By Craig Washington Contributing Writer | 6/21/2013, 12:21 p.m.
Research indicates that people who know their status are more likely to use protection such as condoms and other risk-reduction measures.

In order to increase the numbers of people who know their status, AID Atlanta and other community-based organizations must tackle the barriers that make it difficult for people to get tested. Gay men and African American women, two of the most highly affected populations, face several barriers to knowing their status. GO Atlanta program coordinator Edric Figueroa mobilizes gay men to recruit other gay men, such as their friends and sexual partners, to get tested.

Figueroa points out, “When it comes to the gay community, particularly Caucasian and Latino men, stigma is often the barrier forged in road to knowing one’s status. Latino gay men often are managing homophobia, closeted identities, and may lack proper documentation for care.  While white gay men are seen as the most vocal group, there is still a lack of relevant dialogue in terms of relationships to testing and HIV.  By bringing up these conversations through men’s own social networks, we are tearing down these barriers.”

Ainka Gonzalez manages AID Atlanta’s prevention programs for women and adolescents and regards NHTD as an important opportunity for black women.

“Women put others in their lives first including their children, partners, and community,” she said. “Often women’s perception of vulnerability to HIV risk is really low. This day is a chance for women to take time out for themselves and find out what’s going on in their own bodies. NHTD normalizes HIV testing, helping testing become more of a priority and a routine for women like pap smears and breast examination.”

National HIV Testing Day Event Schedule

Sunday, June 23, 2013

“Testing in the Park”

Piedmont Park 4:30PM-7:00PM

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hammonds House

10:00AM-12:00PM

Underground Atlanta

1:30AM-6:30PM

AID Atlanta Testing Center

12 Noon-7PM

For more information about these testing events, please contact Gary Jerkins, CTRS Program Manager at gary.jerkins@aidatlanta.org or the Georgia AIDS/STD Infoline at 1.800.551.2728. Information may also be found at www.aidatlanta.org