Health department adding free HIV and hepatitis C testing; on-site insurance navigator available to help

The Jackson County Health Department wants everyone to know their HIV status, so it is encouraging all citizens to get tested this month.

National HIV Testing Day is June 27.

One in eight people has HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, and doesn’t know it, according to national health statistics.

In 2015, an outbreak of more than 140 cases of HIV occurred in southeastern Indiana, including Jackson County, with most cases being centered around Austin in Scott County.

“HIV testing is the only way to know for sure if someone has HIV,” said Tiffany Jackson, county public health coordinator and educator.

By not getting tested, people are not receiving the medical care they may need to stay healthy and to keep from infecting others with HIV, Jackson said.

HIV causes AIDS and interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections. There is no cure, and it is most commonly spread through sexual contact and intravenous drug use.

Symptoms of HIV are similar to the flu and include fever, sore throat and fatigue. They usually diminish until the disease progresses into AIDS.

The health department is offering free HIV and hepatitis C testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Testing is confidential, and those tested will receive their results in around 20 minutes.

The health department recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV as part of routine health care.

People with certain risk factors, including those who use intravenous drugs and who engage in sexual contact with multiple partners without using protection, should get tested more often.

Besides HIV and hepatitis C testing, the health department also has added an on-site insurance navigator to help people discuss options for and obtain health insurance. The navigator is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays.

And finally, the department is offering free naloxone kits and training on how to use the medication to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays. To receive the naloxone, people must make an appointment to go complete the training. To schedule training, call 812-522-6474.

If you go

National HIV Testing Day is June 27.

The Jackson County Health Department, 801 W. Second St., Seymour, is offering free HIV and hepatitis C testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Testing is confidential, and those tested will receive their results in around 20 minutes.

Other services

The health department also has added an on-site insurance navigator to help people discuss options for and obtain health insurance. The navigator is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays.

Free naloxone kits and training on how to use the medication to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays. In order to receive the naloxone, people must make an appointment to go through the training. To schedule naloxone training, call 812-522-6474.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.