Family Planning providing free HIV testing

Nov 29, 2012 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Fremont County Family Planning will offer free HIV testing Friday in recognition of World AIDS Day, which takes place Saturday this year.

Heidi Stearns with FCFP said this is the first time her agency has offered free testing outside of their office at 325 W. Main St. The effort was initiated after the group became part of Fremont County's public health department this year.

"Family Planning has become a county program, and as part of that the county commissioners want us to do outreach and education, which is great," Stearns said. "Before we didn't really have the go-ahead to do that."

Free HIV testing will be available between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday outside of the Student Success Center in the Main Hall at Central Wyoming College. Stearns encouraged anyone seeking information about HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases to attend.

"Anybody is welcome," she said, though she anticipates most participation will come from the student body. "We'll have educational information (and) little goodies, handouts basically. And just information about our services."

For anyone who is nervous about getting a shot, Stearns said the HIV test is quick and painless.

"It's a finger prick," she said.

Results come in about 15 minutes, but Stearns said people don't have to wait if they don't want to.

"They can leave, and we'll notify them," she said.

Others are invited to stay and talk privately or ask questions. Stearns said that in her experience, college students need to have access to information about sexually transmitted diseases and family planning.

"College students don't know what family planning is," she said. "I tell them I'm from family planning, and they say, 'I don't want a family.' Then you do need to see us. ... The education needs to be done."

She plans to visit schools and other local organizations to share information about family planning with Fremont County's young people.

Anyone looking for more information can call FCFP at 856-7212.

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