ATLANTA - The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will mark National HIV Testing Day Saturday by offering free, rapid HIV tests from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Out of the Closet Thrift Store in northeast Atlanta.
Imara Canady told FOX 5 the goal is to put a spotlight back on the disease in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic--especially since cases of both viruses are spiking in Georgia. Test results will available in a few minutes at the Cheshire Bridge Road thrift store and Canady hopes men and women who've gone far too long without an HIV test will take advantage of the opportunity.
"Physical distancing will be implementing and we are requiring people to wear masks and it will only take about 15 minutes of your time. Knowledge is power and the power comes from knowing your status," said Canady, who helps lead the Southern Bureau of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The thrift store, located on Cheshire Bridge Road, turns over 96 cents of every dollar to fund HIV/AIDS awareness and services including a pharmacy inside the store that's stocked with medications commonly used to treat the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
"The fear and the confusion of the Covid19 pandemic remind me a lot of what happened during the HIV/AIDS pandemic, especially in terms of how both viruses impact urban communities and that's why we know access to testing is so important. Though we've gotten more of a handle on HIV, the virus continues to increase," said Canady.
"We hope this program gives people a sense that they have a safe space to get tested. Anyone who tests positive for HIV will be connected with healthcare resources within 72 hours so that they can get follow-up tests and explore all options for treatment," he added.
Out of the Closet offers rapid response tests throughout the week. To find information about free testing in your community, visit freehivtest.net.