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HIV Testing Continues for Southern Utah Task Force

Despite a lack of state funding for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the Washington County HIV/AIDS Task Force in Southern Utah continues to offer no-cost testing to members of the local community. And if last month’s numbers are any indication, more people than ever are responding.

“Six people came in on our testing day in December,” said Task Force president Ruthann Adams. Although this may seem like a small number, Adams said they served more peole in December than they have all year. Typically, the testing events draw one or two takers.

Adams credits the increased interest partially to fliers and newspaper ads distributed throughout Southern Utah, and partly to the popularity of the same-day OraQuick HIV tests the Task Force has begun using.

“People thought that was really great, to have results right away,” she said. “This is such a terrible disease. You don’t want to be stewing about it for two weeks [as you wait for results].”

Although the quick tests are effective, the expense to give them is still considerable. According to Adams, 25 tests cost the Task Force $470 (normally tests cost $25-27 each). Combined with the two tests that must be used as controls at each session to make sure the tests are accurate which cost $25 each, the expense for December’s test date alone was close to $170.

“We’re trying to find alternative sources of funding for the tests,” Adams said. Of these sources, she said she hopes that the Task Force’s spring fundraiser will bring in enough money to offset the costs. As the Task Force decided not to charge for the tests (“that would defeat our whole purpose,” Adams said), she said the need for community support was stronger than ever.

“We need support from everybody to do this,” she said.

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