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Sussex Pride and STDcheck offering free HIV and syphilis testing in new partnership

National HIV Testing Day is June 27th, but a partnership between Sussex Pride and STDcheck is offering free HIV and syphilis testing now to strengthen testing efforts.

Sussex Pride Executive Director David Mariner says there are 20 different testing locations across the state.

“They offer other services, testing services, but if you mention Sussex Pride by name you can get a free HIV or syphilis test at any of their locations in the state of Delaware<" MAriner says. "And then they report that information back to the health department and it becomes part of the surveillance report.”

Mariner says the sooner someone knows they have a positive diagnosis, the faster they can get into treatment, and the better their outcomes are likely to be.

“People who have HIV are living long and healthy lives," he says. "But it’s important that they start their treatment early.”

Mariner adds that quick and successful treatment can lead to an undetectable viral load, which makes it less likely for the virus to spread.

Mariner says they estimate about 4,000 people in Delaware are living with HIV, and new HIV infections are on the rise this year – about 40 so far in 2024 compared with about 20 this time last year and in 2022.

Mariner adds resources for prevention are also available to slow the spread of HIV.

“There are lots of opportunities to get, for example, free condoms from the health department, both male and female condoms, to prevent HIV transmission," Mariner says. "So I think those things are also extremely important, and it’s part of this overall approach to ending the epidemic.”

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.