National HIV Testing Day offers free testing in Baton Rouge community

CareSouth Medical HIV Testing Day

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - On Saturday, June 27, community leaders participated in National HIV Testing Day.

Multiple organizations held events as part of a city-wide effort to remind community members to stop by and get an HIV test, including the Baton Rouge AIDS Society (BRASS), the Capitol Area Reentry Program (CARP), Metro Health, and CareSouth Medical and Dental.

During Care South’s event, free HIV testing was offered to encourage everyone to know their status. Participating community leaders also took the test as part of an effort to help de-stigmatize the disease.

“It is just so important to stop the spread first of all, just so people can know their status and they can be able to communicate with their friends, their partners or whomever they’re coming into contact with,” said Kabrina Smith.

Smith is the Chief Operations Officer at CareSouth Medical and Dental.

She and her crew provided free HIV tests to educate the Baton Rouge community and to encourage folks to be proactive about their health.

A few years ago, Louisiana was ranked 5th in the nation for the highest HIV rates.

Now the state is making progress.

“So in Baton Rouge, we have decreased. We have gone down to number six and, so again, we are excited about that, but it is still important for everyone to know what their HIV status is,” said Smith.

Even with the decrease, health care professionals are still urging folks to get tested if they are sexually active in order to lower rates, especially in high-risk populations.

“If it’s important to you, make sure you are able to get tested and know your status. Get tested, don’t be afraid. There is so much that can be done to make sure our odds are extended in a very normal way as we move about in our life,” said Chi Franklin.

CareSouth will still offer free HIV testing Monday through Friday during normal operating hours.

Smith says you can call in, schedule an appointment online, or simply just walk in to get tested.

Click here to visit the clinic’s website.

Other clinics are offering HIV testing as well.

If you are concerned get your status checked to protect others and yourself.

Testing will include a confidential finger-prick blood test, as well as pre and post counseling. Results will be available immediately.

TESTING LOCATIONS

The Baton Rouge AIDS Society (BRASS)

  • 4560 North Blvd., Suite 100
  • Baton Rouge

Capital Area Reentry Program (CARP) and Metro Health

  • 10467 Airline Hwy.
  • Baton Rouge

CareSouth Medical and Dental

  • 3140 Florida St.
  • Baton Rouge

The BRASS and CARP/Metro Health testing sites are available by appointment only. To make an appointment with BRASS, contact AJ Johnson at 225-268-9336. To make an appointment with CARP/Metro Health, contact Shirley Lolis 225-338-9333. CareSouth Medical and Dental does not require an appointment for testing.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.