National HIV Testing Day will be commemorated in Cherokee on Thursday, June 27. The event, with the theme “Prevention is Caring”, will be held on the Oconaluftee Island Park.
1. What is National HIV Testing Day?
• The whole country recognizes National HIV Testing Day every year on June 27. It is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in Cherokee and give community members the tools they need to stop the spread of these diseases.
• This year, in partnership with WNCAPP, NC Health and Human Services and multiple other medical partners, Cherokee Community Health will commemorate the day by kicking off a four hour testing event on the Oconaluftee Island in Cherokee from 10am – 2pm.
• Everyone is invited to enjoy the food and activities in order to bring young families together to promote healthy habits. Hepatitis C and HIV testing will be offered by licensed healthcare workers with 20 minute results done in total confidentiality.
2. Why is this effort important?
• We have to raise people’s awareness of the HIV/AIDS risk in Cherokee.
• Giving community members and community leaders the tools they need to fight the spread of the disease is very important. It is imperative that they learn the importance of advocating for improved health and wellness of community members.
• Everyone needs to be tested so that they know their status. If someone doesn’t know, they could be spreading the virus and not getting the treatment they need!
• For those who have HIV, the disease doesn’t have you! It isn’t a death sentence if you get treatment, and there are programs out there that can help if you don’t have much money – like the Ryan White Program run by the NCHHS.
3. What else will go on at this testing event?
• The testing session will include instruction and discussion for community members.
• It’s FREE!
All food and materials needed will be provided. Door prizes will be given every 30 minutes.
• Free and confidential HIV and Hepatitis tests throughout the day. It is just a mouth swab or fingerstick and you know your results in 20 minutes.
• Various tribal programs that specialize in health will be present from 10 am – 2pm to offer free services, provide information, and lots more. Island activities will include cornhole,drumming,yoga,water activity,hula hoops, DJ music, cotton candy, Hawaiian leis, and brightly dressed health professionals in grass skirts.
4. Who should come to be tested?
• If you know someone who is at risk for HIV because of using Drugs or Alcohol during sex, trading sex for drugs, frequently has STD’s, or if you care about the health of your community, come and learn how to address HIV and AIDS in this community.
– EBCI Health & Medical