Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us

The Miriam Hospital Encourages Rhode Islanders to Get Tested for National HIV Testing Day

6/25/2013

18th annual National HIV Testing Day is June 27  


With the HIV infection rate in Rhode Island remaining steady, physicians with The Miriam Hospital’s Immunology Center are encouraging Ocean State residents of all ages to check their HIV status for National HIV Testing Day on Thursday, June 27.

“We know HIV and sexually transmitted diseases are difficult topics to talk about, so we hope residents will use National HIV Testing Day as an opportunity to learn their HIV status and persuade others to do the same,” said Philip A. Chan, M.D., an HIV/AIDS specialist at The Miriam Hospital.

Chan points out that while Rhode Island is a small state, HIV continues to have quite an impact. “HIV continues to affect people of all ages and background, and if you don’t know your HIV status, you’re much more likely to spread the disease and infect others,” he says. “Although there has been significant progress in the treatment and management of the disease, serious complications can still occur, especially when HIV is diagnosed late. The sooner you know your status, the sooner we can start potentially lifesaving treatment.”

HIV testing at The Miriam Hospital is conducted via rapid test, which can provide results within 20 minutes. Other testing services include hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. All testing is free, anonymous and confidential, and is conducted on a walk-in basis three afternoons a week. On-site confidential HIV counseling and risk reduction education are also available.

The Immunology Center at The Miriam Hospital is the largest HIV and STD clinic in the state. The clinic provides comprehensive, up-to-date and compassionate care to over 1,500 HIV patients by a team of physicians who are leaders in the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of HIV and STDs, as well as by nurses; social workers and case managers. More than 70 percent of the individuals in Rhode Island who are HIV-infected are connected with primary medical care through the center.

The center also offers a program for HIV-infected women that includes case management, clinical trials and gynecological care; an HIV program for adolescents that provides intensive care and long-term support; one of the country’s first HIV/viral hepatitis co-infection treatment programs; infectious diseases and HIV-related clinical trials sponsored by the federal government and pharmaceutical companies; free active outreach care and HIV/STD prevention for substance abusers (particularly heroin and cocaine needle users), offered in collaboration with AIDS Care Ocean State; HIV care that is linked to the community at the state prison and substance abuse treatment sites; and participation in four federally funded HIV prevention programs for adolescents, high-risk women, and men and women leaving prison.

More than 3,000 Rhode Islanders are infected with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 100 residents contract the disease each year. The vast majority of all HIV/AIDS cases in the state are among people over the age of 30. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and nearly one in five of those people are unaware of their infection.

Free HIV/STD testing services are available on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center, located at 1125 North Main Street in Providence. For more information, please call (401) 793-4715 or visit http://www.miriamhospital.org/hiv-prevention