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DHEC Offers Free HIV and STD Testing at Certain Locations in Recognition of National HIV Testing Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. ― National HIV Testing Day is June 27, 2021, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is encouraging South Carolinians to get tested for HIV and other STDs so they know their status and can protect their health.

The theme of this year’s National HIV Testing Day is “My Test, My Way,” which is meant to focus on the different options available for getting tested for HIV, whether it’s self-testing at home or getting tested at a nearby location. As of December 31, 2019, there are more than 20,000 South Carolina residents living with diagnosed HIV infection, including AIDS.  

“Early detection through testing for HIV remains essential to successfully identifying and treating the disease and is critical to preventing new infections,” said Ali Mansaray, Director of DHEC’s STD/HIV and Viral Hepatitis Division. “Most people in the early stages of HIV infection have no symptoms. Early diagnosis can link people to services that will help them stay healthy longer, benefit most from treatment, reduce costly hospital visits and help prevent transmission to others.”

Between 2018 and 2019, 1,556 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina, and of those newly diagnosed, 60 percent were African American, 22 percent were white, and 6 percent were Hispanic.  

Much like new HIV infections, African Americans are disproportionately impacted when it comes to the total number of people living with HIV in South Carolina. As of Dec. 31, 2019, among persons living with HIV in South Carolina, 47 percent were African American men, 22 percent were African American women, 20 percent were white men and 5 percent were white women. Five percent of people living with HIV were Hispanic/Latino men and women.  

To help make HIV and STD testing easy and convenient, DHEC is offering free testing at participating local health departments on June 29. Appointments are encouraged. Please call 1-855-472-3432 or use our online web chat to schedule your appointment. 

If you are over the age of 17 and prefer the privacy of in-home testing, you can order up to two free test kits by visiting together.takemehome.org. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is covering the cost of HIV self-tests so that you can use them to test yourself or to share with others. No personally identifiable information will be shared with CDC. 

For more information about STDs and locations that provide screenings, call DHEC’s STD/HIV Hotline at 1-800-322-2437, or visit DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.

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