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Today Is National HIV Testing Day

By Marcus Gilmer in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 27, 2008 4:45PM

2008_06_27HIV.jpgToday is National HIV Testing Day, "an annual campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing." Testing centers around the country will be providing HIV tests, health fairs, and outreach to anyone wishing to participate. It comes on the heels of unsettling news from the CDC: between 2001 and 2006, HIV/AIDS cases in gay men climbed 8.6 percent. According to other CDC findings, in 2006, almost three-quarters of diagnosed cases were in males; half of the 2006 diagnoses were from male-to-male contact and a third resulted from heterosexual contact. These statistics hit home as the city prepares for this weekend's annual PRIDE parade.

“The bottom line here is we are woefully under-serving gay men” in the fight against HIV/AIDS, said Jim Pickett, director of advocacy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

What’s required are services and public outreach that address the underlying reasons why gay men fail to take sexual precautions, including depression, other psychological problems and substance abuse, Pickett said.

His organization has joined with the Test Positive Aware Network, the Center on Halsted, and the Howard Brown Health Center in a new program called Project CRYSP that tackles these issues. Included is, an Internet site devoted to gay men’s relationships, spirituality, and physical, mental and sexual needs. Also, several forums are being held and outreach workers are offering information online at sites where gay men congregate.

Of course, HIV testing is something that's important regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Of the approximately 40,000 people with HIV or AIDS in Illinois, nearly a quarter are unaware they are infected. After the jump is a list of participating centers providing testing in the Chicago area this weekend. More info and sites can be found here. [Trib]

Friday, June 27

Sankofa: A Safe Child Initiative
South Side Health Center
10420 S. Halsted St.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Progressive Institute of Health Education and Training
Breakthrough Urban Ministries
402 N. St. Louis Ave.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sankofa Inc.
4800 W. Madison
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Trinity United Church of Christ
400 W. 95th St.
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 28

Jackson Park
6400 S. Stoney Island
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Fathers Who Care
Greater Westside Development
Danny K. Davis Homan Square
333 W. Arthington St.
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sankofa Inc.
2800 W. Madison
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Genesis Community Services & Luck Care Center
1701 W. Monterey
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

South Side Help Center
Jackson Park
1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 29

Rock Coordinating Committee
ROCKS Pride Event
Chicago Lakefront
Montrose & Lake Shore
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

AIDS Ribbon courtesy of