HIV screenings a success, health agency reports

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With a turnout of nearly 30 people in Moffat and Routt counties combined, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association considers Thursday’s free HIV screenings a success, public information coordinator Suzi Mariano said.

Residents up to age 60 came in for testing, which is a good sign, as “HIV affects all ages,” Mariano wrote in an email.

“We are really pleased that we reached such a wide audience and that we were able to provide the test to so many people,” she wrote.

The VNA offered the free, drop-in screenings at its Craig and Steamboat Springs offices Thursday in recognition of World AIDS Day. Seven people came to the Craig office for screening, and 22 were tested in Steamboat, Mariano said.

“We were very pleased with the turnout,” she said.

She declined to comment on test results, including whether anyone tested positive.

Residents who missed the screening still have an opportunity to be tested.

The VNA offers HIV tests by appointment. The tests are always free, Mariano said, but there is a charge for the accompanying office visit, which is assessed on a sliding scale determined by income.

The VNA also offers several drop-in sexually transmitted disease clinics every year for diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HIV testing for people who:

• Inject steroids or drugs and share needles or syringes with others.

• Have unprotected sex with one or multiple partners.

• Have been diagnosed or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis, or sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis.

HIV also can be transmitted through bodily fluids.

For more information about HIV screenings or other STD tests offered by the VNA, call 824-8233.

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