NEGAUNEE — According to the Center for Disease Control, around 1.2 million people are living with HIV in America, but one in eight people don’t know they have it. The Marquette County Health Department is doing its part to encourage testing.

The Health Department will be providing free rapid HIV testing on June 27 as a way to promote National HIV Testing Day. The test only requires a finger poke and results are available in twenty minutes.

Those that are sexually active, have multiple partners or are drug users are at a higher risk for contracting the disease. Knowing your HIV status early is key in preventing the spread.

“You can get into care, you can get into treatment. There’s really good medication now that can stop the progression of HIV,” said HIV/AIDS Coordinator Laura Fredrickson. “It can keep the viral load low or undetectable. The lower that is, the less risk there is for infection to other people and it’s just going to keep yourself healthier if you keep the virus under control.”

The Health Department also provides assistance through a case management program in the event of a positive result.

“We walk people through the entire process and get them connected with resources for medications, possibly housing, anything that they might need,” Fredrickson added. “We stick with them long term because this isn’t a disease that just goes away.”

For information on how you can schedule an appointment, call (906) 475-7651 or (906) 475-4435.