The Union Recorder

Local News

June 24, 2014

Oconee Center recognizes National HIV Testing Day

MILLEDGEVILLE — The annual campaign of the National HIV Testing Day will be promoted locally at Oconee Center sites on Wednesday in an effort to create testing awareness and save lives.

Founded by the National Association of People with AIDS in 1995, the national day of observance takes place on June 27 each year with support from the Center for Disease Control (CDC),, CDC's National Prevention Information Network and other partners.

This year the Oconee Center will offer HIV testing on various days.

"This year the holiday falls on a Friday, and the Oconee Center does not offer testing on Fridays," said Linda Morrison, licensed clinical social worker with the Oconee Center. "There's no way for us to be at all sites on the same day so we decided to break it up into different days."

Local HIV testing will be conducted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Sparta Adult Mental Health site, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Wednesday at the Sandersville Adult Mental Health site, from 8 a.m. to noon Monday at the Milledgeville Addictive Disease Outpatient Program (ADOPS) site, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at the Milledgeville Adult Mental Health (AMH) site. Appointments can be made by calling 706-444-1037 for Sparta, 478-553-2424 for Sandersville, 478-445-5518 for Milledgeville ADOPS, or 478-445-4721 for Milledgeville AMH.

"Getting tested is very important. A person can be affected with HIV and not even know it," Morrison said.

According to Morrison, 1 in 5 HIV-positive Americans don't know that they are infected. She encourages everyone to get tested as early detection is a key factor in treating the virus.

"Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If you have HIV, getting medical care at an early stage helps you live a longer, healthier life and also lowers the chances of passing HIV on to others," she said.

Over time, and without treatment, HIV gradually destroys the body's defenses against disease, leaving it vulnerable to many infections and cancers that do not normally develop, she added.

"By the time of an AIDS diagnosis, HIV has already seriously damaged the body's immune system."

The HIV tests are conducted by professional testing staff using the Clearview Rapid HIV Test.

"All it takes is a needle prick, and results are given in approximately 15 minutes," Morrison said.

Oconee Center offers free Rapid HIV testing to any adult who would like to be tested.

The Oconee Center is a public corporation designed by Georgia law as a Community Service Board, providing mental health, developmental disabilities and addictive disease services in the six county areas of Baldwin, Hancock, Jasper, Putnam, Washington and Wilkinson counties.

Oconee Center's Milledgeville Adult Mental Health site is located at 430 N. Jefferson St. and the Addictive Disease Outpatient Program is located at 900 Barrows Ferry Road.


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