New collaboration expands access to HIV and STI prevention resources
Benton County is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Linn County, Lincoln County, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and regional medical providers, to expand access to rapid HIV testing, referral, and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention resources in the region.
Despite significant strides in advancing effective prevention and treatment strategies over the last three decades, Oregon is seeing an increase in newly identified HIV and STI infections. Six out of 10 Oregonians do not know their HIV status. Benton, Linn and Lincoln Counties have also seen a significant increase in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis over the last five years, mirroring national trends.
With funding through a new 5-year grant from the Oregon Health Authority, the regional End HIV Partnership has hired three new HIV/STI harm reduction outreach specialists to reach out to individuals at high risk for HIV/STI infection and link them to HIV/STI prevention, testing, and treatment services across the three-county area.
The partnership is also working closely with local medical providers to help people access medical care and expand the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication shown to be highly effective in preventing HIV infection among those at high risk.
These new resources are timely as Communicable Disease Prevention is one of four top community health priorities recently identified in Benton County’s 2018-23 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). In coordination with Oregon's End HIV Campaign, the partnership encourages everyone to learn their HIV status. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care. People with certain risk factors should get tested more often.
Getting tested is the only way to know your HIV status. If you are HIV-positive, you can start getting treated, which can improve your health, prolong your life, and greatly lower your chance of spreading HIV to others.
To find out more about the regional partnership, and how to access HIV and other STI testing and referral services in your community, contact Tatiana Dierwechter, Health Policy and Prevention Manager, at 541-766-6124 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information about Oregon's End HIV Campaign can be found at www.endhivoregon.org.
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