Assemblyman Anthony Portantino applies the cheek swab, part of the oral HIV rapid test now offered free and without an appointment at the Pasadena Public Health Department.
Several community leaders, including myself, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Pasadena City Councilman Jacque Robinson participated in the National HIV Testing Day Saturday on the patio of Vroman’s Bookstore in the Pasadena Playhouse District.
The new test involves just a swab between your cheek and gums. You then place the swab stick into the vial and in about 20 minutes, the result is ready. Getting tested should be a regular part of everyone’s health screening. Men and women who get tested for cholesterol levels in their blood should also get the HIV test.
Portantino said the CDC estimates there are 180,000 to 280,000 people nationwide who are HIV-positive but are unaware of it. These people then spread the disease to others. Everyone should know their status. That is the first step in helping to prevent the spread of this disease.
While many say it is under control, the statistics are changing. For example, it is no longer just homosexual males who are getting infected. The CDC reports HIV infection was the leading cause of death for black women, that includes African-American women, ages 25-34. The instances of young people with HIV are also on the rise: the CDC reports a 42 percent increase in young people ages 13-24 living with AIDS from 2000 to 2004. Finally, older people are also being infected at a more rapid pace. There has been a 7 percent increase in older people (age 50 and above) since 2001.
I got tested. Why shouldn’t you? (Pasadena Dept. of Health: (626) 744-6030.
Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard speaks about how the “AIDS crisis” has lost some of its meaning today, when everything from finance to budgets to the economy are in “crisis.” On right is Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-44th Assembly District.