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Health Dept. offers communicable disease testing

Published: Monday, April 21, 2014 4:00 p.m. CDT

Woodstock Ill. – In recognition of April’s National Public Health Week, the McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) is offering free confidential or anonymous rapid HIV testing, by appointment, for individuals at high risk for infection. The test consists of a small finger-stick blood sample and results are available in less than 20 minutes so residents can quickly learn their HIV status.  Individuals are also assessed for risk factors and provided educational material.  For appointments, call MCDH at 815-334-4500.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year. Of those infected, 16% are unaware of their infection. As of June 2013, McHenry County has 124 people living with HIV, 69 of whom have advanced to AIDS, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is important that individuals with HIV are aware of their status and linked to ongoing care and prevention services to live longer, healthier lives and reduce their risk of transmitting HIV.

MCDH also offers a low cost screening test for Hepatitis C (HCV). According to the CDC, an estimated 3.2 million persons in the United States have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection. Most people (75%) do not know they are infected because they don’t look or feel sick. About 75-85% of those infected will have chronic, or lifelong, infection without treatment. HCV is spread primarily through contact with infected blood. People born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with HCV so these individuals should be screened.

In addition, MCDH offers affordable testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI) for those at risk for infection, by appointment only (815-334-4500). More information is available online for HIV/AIDS http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics, HCV http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/ , and STI http://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/default.htm. The test consists of a small finger-stick blood sample and results are available in less than 20 minutes so residents can quickly learn their HIV status. Individuals are also assessed for risk factors and provided educational material.  For appointments, call MCDH at 815-334-4500. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 50,000 new HIV infections in the United States each year. Of those infected, 16% are unaware of their infection. As of June 2013, McHenry County has 124 people living with HIV, 69 of whom have advanced to AIDS, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is important that individuals with HIV are aware of their status and linked to ongoing care and prevention services to live longer, healthier lives and reduce their risk of transmitting HIV. 

MCDH also offers a low cost screening test for Hepatitis C (HCV). According to the CDC, an estimated 3.2 million persons in the United States have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection. Most people (75%) do not know they are infected because they don’t look or feel sick. About 75-85% of those infected will have chronic, or lifelong, infection without treatment. HCV is spread primarily through contact with infected blood. People born between 1945 and 1965 are five times more likely to be infected with HCV so these individuals should be screened. 

In addition, MCDH offers affordable testing for sexually transmitted infections for those at risk for infection, by appointment only 815-334-4500. More information is available online for HIV/AIDS http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics, HCV http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C/ , and STI http://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/default.htm. 

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