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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
               Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

KNOW YOUR HIV STATUS: GET TESTED!


NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that it is very important to know your HIV status. People of all ages can get HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) - the virus that can lead to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

In recognition of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on March 10, the Health Department is offering free, private and rapid (results within 20 minutes) HIV testing for both women and men at the Ramapo Cultural Arts Center located at 64 North Main Street in Spring Valley, from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM.

Why is getting tested so important? It's the only way to know for sure whether you are infected with HIV.

"You can have HIV and still feel perfectly healthy. Nearly one in five people with HIV don't know they are infected. They can pass the virus on to others without knowing it, and they also don't get the medical care they need," said Dr. Ruppert.

Many doctors and public health institutions, like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the AIDS Institute, recommend testing of everyone between ages 13 - 64. How often you get tested depends on your risk for HIV infection. Get tested regularly if you are sexually active or an IV drug user. If you have HIV, early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life. You can also take steps to protect other people. HIV testing is especially important for pregnant women. An infected mother can pass HIV to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or through breastfeeding. If you are pregnant and have HIV, treatment is available for your own health and to prevent passing HIV to your baby.

Call the Health Department at 845-364-2570 to find out about other places in Rockland where you can get tested for HIV or visit www.rocklandgov.com/departments/health/programs-and-services/adults/hiv-aids-services/. You can also call the toll-free New York State Department of Health AIDS hotline at 1-800-541-AIDS to schedule a free HIV test.