HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, and doctors say it can be treated and managed like a chronic ailment if it’s caught early. Harris County Hospital District spokesman John Martinez points to former basketball star Magic Johnson as a prime example of someone who has lived with HIV for 17 years.
“He’s continued to have a prosperous life long after finding out. He manages it basically like a disease like diabetes.”
HIV testing is available year-round at most public health agencies, but today’s extra push is designed to focus attention on the need for people in high risk groups to be tested even if they’re not showing symptoms. Houston Health Department spokesman Porfirio Villareal says those people can get be at any time.
“Today is a special campaign that happens every year, which is National HIV Testing Day. So you can always find free testing. Right now it’s a special effort associated with HIV testing day.”
Today’s free HIV testing is at the Harris County Hospital District’s Settegast Health Center at 9105 North Wayside in northeast Houston. The City Health Department is providing the testing at four locations. The Multi-Service Centers at 4605 Wilmington in Sunnyside, on High Star in Southwest Houston, the Prince Complex at 3000 Jensen Drive, and Planned Parenthood at 3601 Fannin. Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.