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HIV tests to be given at Georgia health fair

An upcoming fair in Georgia seeks to eliminate the stigma of HIV testing and provide a safe environment in which citizens can learn their status and get educational materials on the topic. 

Healing Stigma campaign launched in Georgia 
The fair is part of the Georgia HIV Early Intervention Specialists program's campaign called Healing Stigma, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen. It will take place on June 22 at the Mack Gaston Community Center on Fredrick Street in Dalton. The fair will be co-hosted by Highland Rivers, an agency that provides various medical services in several Georgian counties, and Avita Community Partners. 

In addition to HIV testing, the health fair will also include counseling and follow-up testing for those who test positive. To attract visitors, anyone who gets tested will be entered in a raffle for the chance to win prizes, and there will be an area for kids to stay and watch movies while their parents get tested. The community center is also planning to offer complimentary testing for blood sugar, blood pressure and other vital signs. 

"The Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership will be here, so if, say, someone has high blood pressure, there will be someone there with information about what they need to do to address that," Tina Gossett, HIV education specialist at Highland Rivers, told the Daily Citizen. 

HIV on the rise in Georgia
The Healing Stigma campaign seeks to counter the high HIV rates in Georgia. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Georgia has the sixth most newly diagnosed HIV infections last year, and roughly one in five people living with HIV are unaware of their status. 

Online STD testing is available to so people can learn their status in a discrete and confidential matter. 

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