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Free HIV tests at NIAC this week

| June 30, 2010 9:00 PM

The North Idaho AIDS Coalition is offering free HIV testing this week through July 2 in honor of National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

Early detection is a key component of effective treatment, said NIAC Executive Director Dani Clarkson. It is much more difficult to treat full-blown AIDS than it is to treat HIV early on.

"We can really make people live normal happy healthy lives. Early detection is really part of that," Clarkson said.

The rapid test, which would cost $50 anywhere else, offers results in 15 minutes. All you have to do is call 665-1448 to make an appointment. The NIAC office is located at 2201 Government Way, Ste. L.

"We have lots of spots still open," Clarkson said.

The testing is just one part of what NIAC does for the community. The organization also does prevention and education, as well as case management for people infected with HIV/AIDS.

Education and prevention are key in stopping the spread of HIV, Clarkson said. Though HIV/AIDS has taken a back burner in most communities and people don't talk about it as much as they used to, it's still a big deal, and it spreads easily if precautions aren't taken.

Not everybody takes those precautions. There other sexually transmitted diseases occurring at fairly high frequencies in the area, so we know people are engaging in unsafe activities, she said.

"People still have the idea that HIV is a big city issue, and it's really not. It's an issue in our area as well," Clarkson said.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 665-1448.

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