HIV remains a concern in Yakima Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

HIV remains a concern in Yakima Valley

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About one million people in the U.S. are living with HIV and 20 percent of them don't know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

STDs can be an uncomfortable subject to talk about. However, people in Yakima can't afford not to. As of the beginning of 2010, there were 61 people living with HIV and 106 with AIDS in the county. But really there could be more since many people have never been tested.

Monday was National HIV Testing Day and the Yakima County Health District offered free tests. The Centers for Disease Control want to see HIV tests as common as cholesterol tests.

"We need to remove some stigma around getting tested, you know getting tested doesn't mean that someone was bad or doing bad behaviors there's just level of risk in people's lives," says Lesley Schulte, educator with the Yakima Health District.

The Health District says the tests are completely free and confidential. You even have the option of being tested without giving your name. The test only involves a cheek swab collecting cells from your mouth.  It's painless and you get results within two weeks.

You can drop in Wednesdays during business hours or call for an appointment if that doesn't work for you. The Yakima Health District is located at 1210 Ahtanum Ridge Drive in Union Gap and can be reached at (509) 575-4040.

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