Good Samaritan Clinic has partnered with the Red Ribbon Charitable Foundation to provide a free rapid HIV testing site in South Santa Rosa County.
“While we’ve always offered free medical services to those in need, HIV testing will be free and open to the public,” said Colton Boney, HIV/Hep C program director for the clinic, who said it’s the first free rapid HIV testing available in Santa Rosa County.
According to Boney, the South has a disproportionate rate of HIV compared to the rest of the country, making up 52 percent of new diagnoses in 2017 (CDC).
“Despite these statistics, we now have more tools than ever in the fight against HIV/AIDS. There are medications you can take now daily or after an exposure to help you remain negative, PrEP and nPEP,” he said, pointing out that medications used to treat HIV can suppress the virus to the point it is undetectable in the blood, preventing people who are positive from passing the virus to others.
Boney said that while these advancements are live saving, the first step is to knowing your status.
The rapid tests available at Good Samaritan Clinic take fifteen minutes and only require a single drop of blood from a small finger stick, per Boney.
Rapid HIV testing will be available on a walk-in basis or those interested can schedule an appointment.
The Good Samaritan Clinic is open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 1-5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The clinic is located at 4435 Gulf Breeze Parkway.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Clinic at (850) 934-0064.