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Free HIV Screening offered in Southwest Kansas from Oct. 8-11, 2012

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Free HIV Screening offered in Southwest Kansas from Oct. 8-11, 2012

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WICHITA, Kan.—Free screenings for HIV will be available in southwest Kansas from October 8-11. The screenings will be provided by staff from the University of Kansas School of Medicine–Wichita at four area United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries (UMMAM) clinics.

The screenings will be provided to walk-in clients at no cost from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will take place at each UMMAM location:

Individuals are encouraged to attend if they believe they might be at risk for HIV. Individuals are considered at risk if they have had unprotected sex, shared needles or syringes, or had contact with infected blood or blood products.

“Today’s national mentality is, inaccurately, that HIV is curable. HIV is no longer the crisis du jour, but that’s dangerous because people are reverting back to risky behaviors,” said Rhonda Breedlove, RN, program coordinator for Ryan White Part D at KU School of Medicine–Wichita.

HIV infection rates are increasing across Kansas, where about 1 in 1,000 residents are thought to be living with HIV or AIDS. In the last decade, the number of infections in Kansas increased 121 percent.

“In the United States, and here in Kansas, HIV disproportionately affects African-Americans and Latinos,” said Teresa Romey, case manager for Ryan White Part D at KU School of Medicine­­–Wichita. Although Latino and black Kansans make up only 17 percent of the state’s population, they account for 48 percent of Kansas’ newly diagnosed HIV and AIDS cases each year.

“Unfortunately, HIV in this population is often detected much later when the virus has advanced and significantly disrupted the immune system,” Romey said.

 The screenings are free to walk-in clients provided through the Ryan White Part D program at the KU School of Medicine–Wichita. Ryan White Part D is a federally-funded grant program designed to provide support, education and assistance to women, infants, children and youth (18-24) living with or affected by HIV throughout Kansas. The screenings are provided in partnership with United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries and Juntos: Center for Advancing Latino Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

About the University of Kansas Medical Center: The University of Kansas Medical Center is a nationally-recognized biomedical research center with educational programs in the Schools of Health Professions, Medicine, and Nursing. KU Medical Center partners with communities in all 105 Kansas counties to improve the health of the state.  

About United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries: United Methodist Mexican American Ministries (UMMAM) is a faith based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing social, spiritual, educational, health and dental services to persons of all races and faiths. For more information about UMMAM, visit www.ummam.org.

KUMC Press Release (October 1, 2012)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Cori Ast, 913-588-2695, cast@kumc.edu

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