Pride Minot to host World AIDS Day event

Pride Minot will be partnering with the First District Health Unit to offer Human Immunodeficiency Virus screening as part of World AIDS Day Saturday in the Theater Room at the Sleep Inn and Suites, from 5 to 7 p.m. This is free to the community.

“Testing is very important, not just for members of the LGBTQA+ community, but for everyone,” the Pride Minot board said in a joint statement. “The testing process only takes a few minutes, and you get your results very quickly. Taking a few minutes to get tested can, in the long run, offer peace of mind.”

The testing, which includes a rapid antibody screen that tests for HIV, is collected by a small finger poke. Results are given in 15 minutes.

All individuals receiving testing will be entered in a raffle to win items such as a $50 Best Buy gift card and Fitbit.

According to statistics from the North Dakota Department of Health, there are a little over 400 cases of HIV or AIDS in the state of North Dakota, as of Dec. 31, 2017. Overall, nationally, an estimated 1.2 million people live with an HIV infection, with 15 percent unaware of it. If left untreated, HIV can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

Pride Minot has partnered with First District since 2016 to host HIV screenings.

“World AIDS Day helps to bring awareness of the situation and effective screening, but December 1 shouldn’t be the only day to think about it,” the board’s joint statement said.

According to the CDC, everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. First District Health Unit will test individuals ages 14 years and older.

Annual testing should occur if you are at risk. Risks include if you are a sexually active gay or bisexual man, you have had sex with an HIV-positive partner, you have had more than one partner since your last HIV test, you have shared needles or works to inject drugs, you have exchanged sex for drugs or money, you have another sexually transmitted disease, hepatitis or tuberculosis, or you have had sex with anyone who has the aforementioned risk factors or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know.

While no effective cure for HIV currently exists, HIV can be controlled with proper treatment and medical care, the website www.AIDS.gov states. Information about decreasing your risk of HIV will be available at the site, as well as online at www.AIDS.gov or www.cdc.gov/HIV.

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