This column appears in the Nevada Appeal health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Carson City Health and Human Services, in recognition of National HIV Testing Day, is collaborating with The Bridge faith community to provide free testing to those in need. Testing took place Tuesday night at The Bridge and will be offered again from 4-7 p.m. today at the new location at 901 N. Stewart St. Free testing will be offered on a walk-in basis through our health clinic during regular business hours today.
Frances Ashley, who serves as the HIV services coordinator for Carson City Health and Human Services, is excited to reach out to the community. One in five people who are infected with HIV are not aware of it. Ashley emphasizes that everyone should be tested.
Pastor Randy Roser at The Bridge shares Ashley’s passion for helping those in need. The two met at the annual Point in Time count, the count of local homeless that takes place each January. Since, they have connected at Carson Action Agency Network meetings. Roser’s outreach ministry includes serving meals to those in need each weekday at their facility. Offering HIV tests to those same clients is just another way to help make sure that people are receiving the care they need.
Many face apprehension about being tested. This year’s theme is “Take the Test, Take Control,” and it focuses on providing knowledge about HIV risks and empowering people to take responsibility for their health. For those who take part in HIV testing day, it’s an important step to a healthy life. Elaine Bergenheier, a public health investigator who conducts HIV testing, encourages everyone to know their status.
“The test is quick and easy,” she said. “It only takes a few minutes, and it’s the only way to know for sure if you’re infected.”
HIV testing is available in the clinic at Carson City Health and Human Services during normal business hours.