CINCINNATI -- Health officials want those at risk to get tested for HIV as numbers climb in the Tri-State.
Last year, 191 people tested positive for HIV in Hamilton County. Of those 191 cases, 16 percent contracted the disease by using unsanitary needles, according to data from Central Community Health Board of Hamilton County. Last year’s numbers are up from 2016, when 136 people tested positive.
Several organizations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are offering free HIV testing Wednesday on National HIV Testing Day. Results are distributed in 20 minutes or less and are completely confidential.
191 cases of HIV were diagnosed last year in Hamilton County.
Experts say 16% of those people contracted HIV through the use of needles, the rest are from unprotected sex.
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Health educator Jerry Bedford said people need to talk about HIV because it’s not an obsolete disease.
"People still think that it's a death warrant when they find out that they're HIV positive, and I'm here to tell you that it's not a death warrant as long as people get tested to find out if they're HIV positive and take steps to remain healthy by taking medication consistently and correctly,” Bedford said.
There will be free HIV testing Wednesday Downtown outside the library and at Findlay Park in Over-the-Rhine. In Covington, people can get tested at the Walgreens on the corner of Madison Avenue and M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard. Click here to find a testing site in your neighborhood.