The Uncompahgre Medical Center (UMC) will be providing year round confidential FREE rapid HIV testing to the community beginning December 1, 2018. Individuals will be able to walk into the clinic and obtain a test without an appointment at the 1350 S. Aspen St location in Norwood. Offering free HIV testing is in line with UMC’s mission to provide quality, cost-effective, accessible health care to ALL in the San Miguel River Basin. Access to free testing is also one of the best-known methods of reducing stigma and infection rates for HIV/AIDS. Funds are being provided in part by the Telluride AIDS Benefit.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 7 people living with HIV is unaware of their status, and rural areas of the United States face unique challenges in combating HIV and AIDS, including a lack of access to services and limited awareness of the issue. As a nonprofit community health care clinic, UMC understands these factors and how important it is to have the testing service available and free in their community.
UMC’s free rapid HIV testing will be rolled out this year, rather appropriately, on World AIDS Day. This day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died as a result of the virus. “Though many people may feel that the HIV epidemic is “over,” the reality is that the threat is very much still out there, with pockets of the U.S. experiencing spikes in infection rates, disproportionate rates of HIV infection among particular subgroups, and the fact that overall rates have not been declining at the rate we all hoped they would,” says Sarah Gluckstern, TAB’s Managing Director.
The Telluride AIDS Benefit (TAB) is proud to be partnering with UMC to offer HIV testing as part of an overall initiative to expand the organization’s testing reach in the area. Year-round HIV testing is already available at the Telluride Medical Center. TAB also helps fund testing programs at the Moab Free Health Clinic and in Eagle County via the Red Ribbon Project, in addition to major funding raised annually at the AIDS Benefit for WestCAP and St. Mary’s. With the addition of Norwood, TAB hopes to continue the trend to bring free HIV testing to the entire tri-county region.
The mission of the Telluride AIDS Benefit is to raise awareness and funds to help those on the frontlines of the epidemic continue their fight. To this end, each winter, the Telluride community comes together to keep HIV/AIDS at the forefront of important issues by donating their energy, time, money and services, culminating in a spectacular fashion show and week of outreach events. This year TAB will host the 25th Anniversary Benefit from March 1-3, 2018.
TAB funds go to four organizations in Colorado, one in Utah and three in Africa, with an average of 85% of funds staying in Colorado. TAB funds are uniquely important to beneficiaries as they are unencumbered by rules as to how they must be spent, unlike federal funding.
To get your free HIV test at the Uncompahgre Medical Center, call 970-327-4233 or simply walk in - no appointment is necessary. If you would like to bring free testing to your community, please contact TAB Executive Director, Michelle Maughan for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org.