Hundreds expected to be tested for HIV/AIDs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hundreds expected to be tested for HIV/AIDs

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- This month, hundreds of people will tested for a deadly disease in metro Louisville.  It's all part of National Black HIV and AIDS awareness day.

The goal is to encourage as many people as possible to get tested, educated and treated. 

Bobby Edelen says getting tested saved his life. "I was diagnosed with HIV and I've been a long-term survivor."

Edelen was diagnosed in 1989. Like many people, his first thoughts were bad.

Edelen says he thought, "I'm going to die. That was my first thought. I was gonna die!"

Turns out, knowing his status saved his life. 

"It was really a godsend that I found out about it because when I found out, I was able to do something about it," says Edelen.

Health officials say early detection is the key to beating the deadly disease. 

"There are so many people who don't know their status," says Paulette Jewell, with the Metro Health Department.

The statistics are alarming, especially for minorities.

According to the Kentucky Department of Public Health, blacks accounted for 45% of all new infections in 2010, and black females were even higher at 64%.

Jewell says, "Everyone should know their status, so we're inviting everyone to come out and get tested."

Right now, the Metro Health Department and Volunteers of America are offering free testing to everyone in connection with National Black HIV Awareness day. 

"There are no needles for this test," says Jewell.

Needles are not the only change when it comes to getting tested for the disease.

"What we're doing is called an OraQuick test, and within 20 minutes we can give you your test results," says Jewell.

Edelen says, "Getting access to the medication is lifesaving."

Edelen says he's living proof that early detection saves lives, and he believes he would have suffered a "slow, painful death" if he didn't get tested years ago.

The testing continues on Friday at several locations throughout the city.  

Health officials stress that it is not just for African Americans, but for anyone who doesn't know their status.

To find the locations, click here.

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