On Friday, February 7, 2020 Palmetto Community Care will be working to promote National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day for the entire Lowcountry community. The theme for this day is “We’re in This, Together.” This observance is an opportunity to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among black communities.
The first National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) was marked in 1999 as a grassroots-education effort to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in communities of color.
“This awareness day is especially important because African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS here in the south. Per DHEC’s 2017 stats we know that 68% of all those diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina are African American. Breaking it down further, 66% of all men diagnosed and 73% of all women diagnosed were African American. Our goal is to decrease that number with prevention education, our PrEP program, and regular testing out in the community,” said Jarmel Smith, PrEP and Prevention Program Manager at Palmetto Community Care.
Time: 7:30am – 11:30am
Location: 3547 Meeting Street Road, North Charleston, SC 29405
Details: Palmetto Community Care will be offering FREE HIV testing (no STI testing) for National American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Any African American individual that comes in for testing on this day will receive a $10 Walmart gift card.
Time: 12pm – 2pm
Location: the corner of Meeting Street Road and Dorchester Road
Details: Palmetto Community Care will be on site with the mobile testing van offering FREE HIV testing, blood pressure and blood sugar screenings for National American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Any African American individual that gets tested on site will receive a $10 Walmart gift card. There will also be information about our PrEP services, prevention education, free condoms, and other giveaways.
Palmetto Community Care is also partnering with other organizations during this awareness day. On Wednesday, February 5th from 5pm to 7pm, they will be on site with the mobile testing van for Charleston Black Pride’s Resource Night at The Hub (1801 Reynolds Ave, Unit A, North Charleston). And on Thursday, February 13th, in partnership with the SBA, will be on site testing at Charleston School of Law: Barrister (81 Mary Street, Charleston, SC) from 12pm to 2pm.
This awareness day follows one of Palmetto Community Care’s busiest testing months ever as in January 244 free, confidential HIV tests were completed, a high-water mark for any month in recent history. Of this total, 51 were conducted in the community at events and via partnerships. This is a continued trend from 2019 when 2,126 HIV tests were completed, the most in any one year in the organizations 28+ year history. Of this total 22 HIV-positive individuals were discovered and immediately linked to care through Medical Case Management. For comparison, 1,692 HIV tests were completed in 2018.
In addition to providing free, confidential HIV testing, Palmetto Community Care tests for other sexually-transmitted infections.
2019 STI Statistics:
- 2,798 chlamydia and gonorrhea tests – an increase of 1,178 tests over 2018
- 155 individuals tested positive for chlamydia (an increase from 70 positive tests in 2018)
- 53 individuals tested positive for gonorrhea (an increase from 24 positive tests in 2018)
- 376 individuals tested for syphilis with 21 testing positive (an increase from 17 positive tests in 2018)
In 2018, Palmetto Community Care also launched a PrEP program to help combat rising rates of HIV in the greater Charleston community. PrEP is a once daily pill (brand name Truvada or Descovy) that is up to 99 percent effective in reducing HIV rates for those who take the medication as prescribed. Palmetto Community Care’s goal is to make this program and medication free or low cost for participants. The program served more than 70 individuals currently.
Palmetto Community Care offers free, confidential testing for HIV as well as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis at its office located at 3547 Meeting Street Road in North Charleston. Testing hours have been expanded in the morning by an hour and are now 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. No appointment needed. Free condoms are also available.