DHEC is offering free testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases on February 6.  In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day,  people of all races and ethnicities are invited to take advantage of the free testing.


National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed on February 7, is an annual day highlighting the progress in HIV prevention and care among African Americans, who are affected by the virus more than other races, according to officials.

Officials say it also serves as a reminder to those living with HIV to start, continue, stay in or return to treatment.

DHEC says black Americans account for 67% of patients diagnosed with HIV in the Palmetto state. Ali Mansaray, director of the STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis division for the organization calls this "a grave disproportionate burden." She highlights the need for testing and prevention.

To schedule an appointment for free HIV/STD testing on Feb. 6, visit DHEC's service locator atwww.scdhec.gov/HIVLocator. Those tested will be screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis and trichomoniasis.