Local health clinic pushing for increased AIDS/HIV testing

ST. LOUIS - Wednesday is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Staffers at a St. Louis health clinic is doing everything they can to get the word out to get screened.

The Myrtle Hilliard Davis Comprehensive Health Center (MHDCHC) on Martin Luther King Drive provided free HIV/AIDS testing at its clinic Wednesday.

"It's important because we all need to know our status," said Deneen Busby, director of communications for MHDCHC. "You should know who you are dealing with and whether or not you're positive or negative."

She said all people, especially African-Americans on this day, need to take testing seriously.

St. Louis City recently moved down a spot for on a national list, which is good news, but still ranked second overall for STDs in the country.

"When you have a high number of STDs, you're also increasing the risk for contracting HIV/AIDS," Busby said.

Staffers at the MHDCHC want people to feel comfortable getting tested. People are tested in a private room and leave with their results.

"It only takes about 15 minutes, tops. You come in and get a swab, all private. Don't have to worry about anyone sharing information," Busby said.

Busby said doctors and clinics are very concerned, not just here in St. Louis, but across the nation. It's because they say people with HIV/AIDS are living longer and you don't hear about it as much anymore.

"People don't have the panic as far as being afraid of the disease like before," she said.

The clinic is sponsoring the "314 Know Your Status" basketball game, pitting local celebrities and rappers against each other. The game will be played at Vashon High School from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Clinicians will be conducting HIV/AIDS tests at the game as well. The first 30 people to get tested will each get $10 free.

You can call 866-456-3949 to tell Congress to keep federally funding the clinic because St. Louis needs it.