GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — World AIDS Day was December 1. One group in the east isn’t letting it just be a single day. They want to spread awareness to people in the community with free rapid testing.
The Pitt County AIDS Service Organizations (PiCASO) mission is to bring awareness to the disease through education, testing and community outreach. They want to prevent the transmission of the virus to people in eastern North Carolina because they say this area meets a lot of demographic groups that contract HIV and AIDS.
The disease largely impacts groups like rural communities, lower socio-economic classes, ages 18 through around 30 and African-American and Black men.
A lot of the communities here in eastern North Carolina fall within those ranges. Morgan Baker is the Program Coordinator for PiCASO and said over 38,000 people are living with AIDS/HIV in North Carolina. Of that, 4,400 people are undiagnosed in North Carolina and 1,383 adults and adolescents were newly diagnosed in 2019 with AIDS/HIV.
Baker said they expect an increase based on the trends they have seen this year, with less testing and awareness due to the coronavirus. An increase in injection drug use also leads them to believe they will see an increase in new diagnoses.
PiCASO held free rapid drive-thru testing December 1-3. Another event will be hosted on December 4 in Kinston, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2602 W. Vernon Ave. in Kinston.
Testing is free and rapid. Results typically come back in 60 seconds.
Once being tested, you’ll get a “goodie bag” with stuff for safe sex practices, information and resources for AID/HIV, more about the organization and other extras.