Aunt Rita’s Foundation Launches New Ongoing Statewide HIV Testing Initiative with Arizona Department of Health Services
‘Get Tested AZ’ Now at 116 Walgreens, Albertsons/Safeway, Sonora Quest Laboratories
Sonora Quest Labs:
Lake Havasu City – 1964 Mesquite Ave, Unit A
3003 Highway 95, #H-81
1751 W Hwy 95
2505 Hualapai Mountain Rd, Ste A
3970 Stockton Hill Rd
October 3, PHOENIX AZ — Aunt Rita’s Foundation in partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services, launches Get Tested AZ, an ongoing HIV testing initiative throughout Arizona increasing the accessibility for free HIV testing locations to 116 through collaborations with Sonora Quest Laboratories, Walgreens and Albertsons/Safeway pharmacies. Free HIV test vouchers are available to Arizonan’s over 18 years old who have not received an HIV test in the last 12 months. To receive a voucher, log onto GetTestedAZ.org complete the request form and chose the best testing location. Questions? Call Aunt Rita’s Foundation HIVAZ Connect hotline at 602-903-1221.
Testing locations will be available across the state in Greater Phoenix, Greater Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Lake Havasu City, and smaller communities. There are different protocols for the testing sites. Sonora Quest Laboratories is the only testing facility that takes a blood draw which gives the patient a confirmatory test result in 3-4 days either by email or through their secure patient results portal at SonoraQuest.com. HIV tests at Walgreens and Albertsons/Safeway pharmacies is a 20-minute rapid test and results are delivered in person and if positive, they will refer to Aunt Rita’s Foundation to receive a voucher for a confirmatory test at Sonora Quest Laboratories.
What happens after test results are in?
Aunt Rita’s Foundation has made it a priority for people getting tested to be informed about additional services available to them, especially to those who test positive for the HIV virus. A positive test results in mandatory reporting to the Arizona Department of Health Services who will contact Aunt Rita’s Foundation to reach out to the client and help them connect them with service providers.
- Persons testing negative will be referred to Arizona’s free mail-order condom service, as well as being connected to PrEP providers. PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a one-pill daily medication and powerful tool in HIV prevention efforts that is 96% effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. PrEP is covered by insurance, including AHCCCS.
- Persons testing positive will be linked into medical care either through the individual’s existing insurance or through statewide Ryan White programs that provide medical, pharmaceutical, and case management support for persons living with HIV. HIV treatment has never been better, with multiple single pill daily regimens that have proven to be very effective reducing viral loads to undetectable levels, and in turn preventing the transmission of HIV to others while the patient is on treatment.
“This HIV testing initiative is consistent with Aunt Rita’s goal to normalize HIV testing and complements our existing home HIV test kit initiative promoted at MysteryKit.org,” said Glen Spencer, Executive Director of Aunt Rita’s Foundation. “By offering testing locations at 116 locations throughout Arizona at three trusted names in healthcare we hope to achieve our goal to have 90% of all HIV positive persons tested and connected into medical care.”
In Arizona, 15% of all HIV positive individuals are not aware of their status, which represents a public health problem for the continued spread of the virus. The CDC recommends that every U.S. adult be tested at least once for HIV, and that at-risk individuals be tested on a regular basis. Persons who are sexually active or sharing needles for injection drug use should be tested at least annually. This new program supports the overall goal of the Arizona Department of Health Services to have 90% of all HIV positive persons in Arizona tested and identified, as well as President Trump’s goal to end HIV by 2030.
HIV FAST FACTS:
- HIV is 100% preventable using condoms, PrEP, and effective treatment of people living with HIV.
- HIV is 100% treatable with numerous well-tolerated HIV medications available, and 8 regimens that are one pill daily.
- 15% of HIV positive Arizonans are not aware of their status. Currently there are 18,000 HIV statewide infections and an additional 3,000 don’t know they are positive.
- 40% of all new HIV infections in Arizona are among young persons between the ages of 13 and 29.
- In 2017, 768 persons in Arizona were newly diagnosed with HIV.
- In 2019 Maricopa County was identified by the CDC as one of 48 counties nationwide with unusually high HIV infection rates. There are 3,007 counties in the U.S.
- In Arizona 85% of new HIV infections result from men who have sex with men.
- Blacks are SIX times more likely than whites to become HIV positive in Arizona; Hispanics and Native Americans are THREE times more likely.
- The worst HIV status is “unknown,” and the CDC recommends all Americans be HIV tested once.
- HIV treatment after diagnosis can lead to an undetectable viral load in 60 days or less.
- HIV positive persons with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to others, a concept known as undetectable = untransmittable, or U=U.
About Aunt Rita’s Foundation:
Aunt Rita’s Foundation promotes HIV awareness and education throughout Arizona throughout its websites HIVAZ.org, a one-stop database for the diverse services and resources to develop, enhance or expand a healthcare strategy, and in Spanish HIVAZ.org. These sites provide complete directories of HIV service providers throughout the state. Aunt Rita’s also offers free HIV testing through at home HIV test kits, MysteryKit.org, Spanish MiPaquete.org, and GetTestedAZ.org at 116 locations in Walgreens, Sonora Quest and Albertsons/Safeway pharmacies in Arizona. Aunt Rita’s is also providing grant funding to 13 nonprofit partners in Maricopa County. Since 2005 Aunt Rita’s has granted over $2 million dollars to its partner agencies in Central Arizona. For more information visit www.auntritas.org or call 602-882-8675.