December 1st is World Aids Day. The theme for this year's event is "increasing impact through transparency, accountability, and partnerships." In short: know your status and get tested.
The Project of the Quad Cities is working to spread that message locally. Friday, they promoted their free and confidential HIV testing program. To get tested, people had to get a quick finger prick and fill out a survey.
According to hiv.gov, more than one million people in the United States are HIV positive and 1 in 7 don't even know it.
In 2016, nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. tested positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also says many people with the highest risks of contracting the virus aren't getting tested. Those include: heterosexuals with promiscuous partners, people who inject drugs, and gay/bisexual men.
"We're out in the community a lot," says community outreach supervisor Madeline Robel. "We have three locations that people can come in any time and get free testing. It's not something that you can die from anymore. It's treatable and preventable."
With the advances in research and medicine, those living with HIV can prevent it from progressing to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS.
There is no cure for HIV, but experts say it's not a death sentence, as long as you know your status and get tested.
You can do so by finding a free and confidential testing location near you at gettested.cdc.gov.