There is good news concerning the fight against the virus that causes AIDS.
Testing for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus is easier and faster. Treatment drugs - especially when administered early - offer much better outcomes and education has made people better informed concerning risk factors.
The bad news?
A "no, not me" mentality is still pervasive and not everyone understands that testing is the frontline against a virus that can affect anyone.
Risk factors are not limited to sex and drug use but also to choices made by those we choose to be with and their contacts as well.
"All of a sudden you are high risk, and you don't know it," said Dan Mitton, director of education and prevention for Island Coast Aids Network of Fort Myers. 'If you come into contact with risk factors, it doesn't hurt to be tested once."
As part of National HIV Testing Day, the Lee County Health Department will offer free testing at four Lee County locations. ICAN also offers free daily testing, with results available in as little as 15 minutes, at 2231 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers.
The rapid test, which uses a finger-prick of blood, is offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays.
Walk-ins are welcome, but a phone call ahead to (239) 337-2391, is recommended.
It doesn't hurt to be sure. We can't say the same about the alternative.
Consider it preventative medicine.
- Gasparilla Gazette editorial