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February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the African-American community continues to bear the weight of the HIV and AIDs burden more than any other community in the United States. Prevention is key to reducing the rate of infection. Access Health Louisiana (AHL)is committed to helping everyone get tested for HIV. Free, private testing is offered at any AHL clinic and can be done on a walk-in basis. The CDC recommends that everyone get tested for HIV at least one time in their life.
In honor of NBHAAD, AHL staff participated in an awareness event at the New Orleans Library on Loyola Avenue across from City Hall. Members of AHL’s FOCUS and Outreach teams spoke with the public about their risk for getting HIV, how to prevent the disease, where to get free testing services and PrEP. Those attending the event at the library who were interested in getting free HIV testing, visited AHL Primary Care’s newest location across the street at the Pythian Building. The Pythian location is home to AHL’s infectious disease clinic and Internal Medicine Physician Dr. MarkAlain Dery. Dery is leading the way in helping to fight against HIV through early detection and successful care plans after diagnosis.
This year, NBHAAD’s theme is “Together for Love: Stop the HIV Stigma.” The mission of NBHAAD’s campaign is to initiate conversations about the HIV epidemic. Through education, people can better understand HIV/AIDS and help end the crisis. A lack of frank conversations about racism, discrimination, stigma, lack of health insurance or access to care, poverty, homelessness and unemployment further the HIV epidemic in the African-American community, according to the CDC. AHL community health centers never deny a patient access to healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. In addition to offering services on a sliding-fee scale, AHL offers discounted medications filled through the Access Health Louisiana Pharmacy. Free home delivery of medications is also offered to patients as an added bonus.
For free, private, confidential rapid HIV testing, visit any AHL clinic location or call 1-866-530-6111 for the location nearest you. To schedule an appointment at AHL’s Pythian clinic, call (504) 226-2976.