Free HIV testing at Jackson Medical Mall on World AIDS Day - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Free HIV testing at Jackson Medical Mall on World AIDS Day

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

On the 29th anniversary of World Aids Day, 36 million people in the United States live with HIV. Jackson has the fourth highest rate of infection in the country.

The Jackson Medical Mall recognized the international day of observance by spreading the message of testing and protection.

Charlotte Norwood, with Grace House in Jackson, took an HIV test Friday. During CARE4ME Services' annual observation Norwood felt it was important.

The non-profit organization where she works offers housing transition and assistance for people living with HIV.

"Everybody needs to know if they're positive or negative," said Kim Gill of Jackson.

The 46-year-old took his first HIV test Friday. He is among the nearly 250 people taking the free tests.

CARE4ME Services offered them free October 10th through December 1st. 

"If you don't know anything, you don't know," added Gill. "You can't assume you might not have it. I came today, and it was negative. It was a good day".

According to AIDS Vu in Jackson, in 2015 nearly 2,800 people were diagnosed with HIV.

Seventy percent were men. Eighty-two percent were black and 14% were white.

"Sometimes we point our fingers and say it's that population, but it's all of us," said CARE4ME Services Director Juanita Davis. "It doesn't matter who we are. It's not about who we are. It's about what we do".

There are two tests available one that can give results in 60 seconds and another that takes at most 15 minutes.

Experts say advances have now decreased medication for those with the virus from 15 pills a day to a cocktail of three medication in one pill, promising a longer lifespan.

For More information on HIV, go to the Centers for Disease Control website.

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