PALM SPRINGS, CA – The Palm Springs Gay Softball League and Desert AIDS Project invite anyone wishing to get a free and confidential HIV test to visit the mobile testing unit that will be parked at Demuth Park Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24-25 at the Palm Springs Turkey Shootout.
All tests are free and confidential. No blood is drawn, since the test is conducted with a simple swab of the inside of the cheek and results are available in about 20 minutes. Testing hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. Demuth Park is located on Mesquite, between El Cielo and Gene Autry Trail, where the Palm Springs Turkey Shootout will be played on six ball fields, beginning on Friday, Nov. 23.
It’s estimated that one in five people infected with HIV are unaware that they carry the virus. Locally, it’s estimated that nearly 2,000 people in the Coachella Valley are unaware that they are HIV-positive. HIV testing is the only way to know if you are infected.
“We were so encouraged at the recent Pride Festival when we tested 138 people over two days. Lots of people told us they like to periodically reassure themselves they are still HIV-negative,” said Robin Johnson, Director of Social Services at Desert AIDS Project.
“But there’s real power in knowing if you are positive as well. A study that was called the ‘breakthrough of the year’ in 2011 found conclusively that people taking medications soon after being infected with HIV are 96 percent less likely to spread the virus to others.
HIV no longer has to be a death sentence but it’s important to get connected to care as soon as possible after being infected.”
Desert AIDS Project serves people living with HIV and AIDS by providing comprehensive support, including medical care, case management, and social services, like food, housing, and counseling. D.A.P. also offers free and confidential HIV testing at a number of locations throughout the communities it serves. To learn more about Desert AIDS Project, call 760-323-2118, visit www.desertaidsproject.org or find them on Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.