Mississippi State Department of Health no longer offering free H - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi State Department of Health no longer offering free HIV tests

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The CDC says Jackson is fourth highest in the nation for metro areas with HIV diagnoses, but the State Department of Health will no longer be offering free HIV screenings, instead charging a $25 fee.

READ MORE: Jackson has 4th highest rate of HIV infection in nation

The CDC says one in 85 people in Mississippi has HIV; and that in the South, death from the virus is three times more likely than in other states.

But access to HIV prevention and care is limited in Mississippi, and now, that's getting worse.

Under the Affordable Care Act, HIV screening is available without a co-pay.

The Mississippi State Department of Health says they will offer a sliding payment scale for anyone who can't afford the new $25 fee, plus the tests will still be free for anyone 18 and under, and anyone approved by disease investigator.

Deja Abdul-Hagg with My Brother's Keeper says testing is absolutely vital to preventing the spread of HIV, and that Mississippi needs to do more to prioritize population health.

Alan Miley, the Pharmacist in Charge at Parkway Pharmacy in Pearl says the cost of the test kit itself, paying a technician to administer it, and the fee to process it comes out to about the price the State Department is charging.

But in Jackson, Open Arms Healthcare Center has free screenings for HIV, and My Brother's Keeper does free community outreach testing.

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