LONGVIEW (KYTX) - Just one minute, that's all it takes to find out if you test positive, or negative for HIV. Longview outreach organizations Special Health Resources and Wellness Pointe offered free HIV testing to those that came out to the first-ever H.E.A.T. Festival. Wellness Pointe's Prevention Program Manager Wayne Allen says knowing your status is key to corralling this disease.
"HIV is no longer a death sentence, if you're able to get yourself tested and educated, it doesn't mean it's the end of the world." - Wayne Allen, Wellness Pointe
H.E.A.T. doesn't refer to the hot, East Texas weather but stands for Helping Empower Awareness in Texas. Allen says many don't even know they have HIV.
"Don't look for signs to think that you need to be tested. If you know that you've had unsafe sexual behavior, or shot up with needles then come get tested."
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, between 2010 and 2012, there were 142 cases of HIV in Rusk, Upshur, Gregg, and Smith counties. Only 35 people came out to get tested, a number Allen says is way too small.
"People think that if you come out and get tested that you have been promiscuous, but the fact is that anyone can be infected."
Due to patient confidentiality, we could not film tests. However, employees took us through the process. All it takes is a prick of the finger, and a one minute mix into this solution. One blue dot means you are negative, and 2 means you're positive.
If you missed Saturday's opportunity, both Wellness Pointe and Special Health Resources offer free HIV Testing during the week.