In support of World AIDS Day on December 1, Cobb & Douglas Public Health will host a free HIV testing & counseling event at the Marietta Public Health Center from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  The Marietta Center is located at 1650 County Services Parkway.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 8 of those individuals do not know they have the disease. The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) 2014 HIV Disease Surveillance Summary indicated Georgia as the fifth leading state in the nation for new rates of HIV infection, and as part of Metro Atlanta, Cobb and Douglas counties contribute to these high rates.

In the same survey, men accounted for 80 percent of all new HIV infections in Georgia alone during 2014, and the rates of infection disproportionately affected African-American/Non-Hispanic males.

“More people are now living with HIV in the Metro Atlanta Area,” said Director of Epidemiology at Cobb & Douglas Public Health, Rachel Franklin. “This survival rate gives people hope, but it starts with getting tested. That is the first step to take on the path to living longer, healthier lives and reducing transmission of HIV.”

Viral suppression, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure (PEP) drugs – when taken regularly – help to reduce the risk of transmission, and ensure that those affected by HIV live longer, healthier lives.

Cobb & Douglas Public Health’s testing, counseling and outreach efforts include the help of knowledgeable, compassionate counselors that can guide residents through next step options or discuss risk-reduction techniques.

Testing during the World AIDS Day events is free and open to everyone. There are no needles involved and results are confidential and ready within 20 minutes.

For more information about the free HIV testing event, call 770-514-2432.