June 27th is National HIV testing Day - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

June 27th is National HIV testing Day

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Millions have died. From celebrities to infants, HIV/ AIDS has affected every race, every age group since it was first reported more than thirty years ago.

Elia Chino is the executive director of F.L.A.S., one of many non-profit organizations established to raise awareness.

"It's important people get tested for HIV," she said.

The Bee Busy Learning Academy is another agency dedicated to the cause.

"June 27th is National HIV testing day," said Darcy Padgett, executive director. "Please make sure you go out, take a family member, take a friend, go get tested. Get your status."

Outreach efforts at Bee Busy include holding frank discussions in house and hitting the pavement.

"Every Friday night we're out on Bissonnett passing out condoms and letting people know giving out information on testing times and locations," said Norman Mitchell, CEO.

"There's a lot of stigma associated with HIV, and so we're trying to normalize it now because HIV is not that disease that you catch today and die tomorrow," said Padgett. " It's is manageable."

From free concerts to free gift cards, there's been a big push lately by different organizations to get younger Houstonians tested- especially minorities.

According to Chino, someone in Houston is infected with HIV every seven hours, and most new infections are affecting a younger age group.

"Fifteen to (age) twenty four," she said.

Some speculate it's because this younger group didn't experience the fear of what was then a brand new, killer disease in the eighties.

Chino thinks it's because the advancement in medicine and treatments make HIV a little less scary.

Still, without testing, without knowledge, those treatments aren't an option, and according to Padgett, "Medication is important. Adherence to medication is extremely important if you want to live."

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