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The Center for Disease Control is doing its part to curb the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country, by offering free testing kits in drug stores across the nation. The project, which will cost $1.2 million, offers customers rapid HIV tests in 24 cities and rural areas.

“By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and reduce the stigma associated with HIV,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, who oversees the CDC’s HIV prevention programs. As of now the tests have bee placed in seven cities, with plans to expand to the remaining 17 locations.

Boasting a 99 percent accuracy rate, patients will receive the results 20 minutes after swabbing their mouths with cotton.  Given the high number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Black community, Sara Freedman, a Walgreen’s manager in Washington D.C., is happy about the plan. “I’m excited,” she said. Statistics posted in 2009 show that roughly 23 percent of D.C. resident have HIV and AIDS, a 22 percent increase since 2006. Taking away some of the stigma behind getting tested, may help curb the numbers. “It’s such a new and novel thing for us,” Freeman added.

According to the CDC, in 2009, 21,652 thousand Black people contracted the virus, doubling the cases found in whites which sat at 11,803, and surpassing Latinos at 7,347.


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Photo: CBS