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Free HIV and Syphilis Testing Offered This Week

Tomorrow (6/27) is National HIV Testing Day, and AIDS Project of the Ozarks is offering free HIV and syphilis testing. KSMU's Michele Skalicky has more.

AIDS Project of the Ozarks serves people in 29 counties in Southwest Missouri. Danica Wilson, who works in counseling and testing for the organization, says in 2007, they served 550 people in case management alone.

"It may not seem like a lot, but the problem is is that those are the folks we have just in case management. Those are not the folks who may be out in the community who have not gotten tested yet, who don't know their status."

That's why the AIDS Project is offering HIV testing tomorrow. It's free and you can go anytime between 9 and 4 at 1901 E. Bennett, suite D. Wilson says it's completely confidential.

"We just want folks to understand that there are very few people who have information at their disposal when it comes to information and that information is certainly held with the highest confidence and most importance as far as privacy goes."

Free syphilis testing will also be offered tomorrow between the hours of 9 and 4. Wilson says it's a sexually transmitted disease that's being seen more and more in Southwest Missouri.

"Certainly, that is on the rise. We have seen that. We have talked to our lead agency at Greene County Health Department. They have been working on that as well. Certainly, within the last couple of years, they've seen increases statewide, particularly in St. Louis and Kansas City, and as people travel, and we know that they do, they take their unfortunate friends along with them, and so we have also seen a spike in of syphilis cases in the last couple of years, as well."

Again, free HIV and syphilis testing will be offered tomorrow (6/27) from 9 to 4 at AIDS Project of the Ozarks, 1901 E. Bennett, suite D in Springfield. For more information, 881-1900. For KSMU News, I'm Michele Skalicky.