New report from CDC says most recent data shows that MSM continue to make up the largest percentage of new infections

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

AIDS service organizations across the Metroplez are offering free HIV testing over the next week, leading up to National HIV Testing Day on Sunday, June 27.

The Nelson-Tebedo Clinic is offering free testing Monday through Friday, June 21-25, Monday-Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the clinic on Cedar Springs. On June 27, testing will be available free at JR.’s Bar and Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Road, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

No appointments are necessary. Rapid HIV testing results will be available within an hour.

Last year on National HIV Testing Day, 213 people came to Nelson-Tebedo to be tested, clinic officials said.

In Collin County, free testing will be available on the Springcreek Campus of Collin County Community College on June 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

AIDS Arms will offer free testing at their office in Oak Cliff on Saturday, June 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are located at 219 Sunset Avenue, Suite 116-A.

“What we’re wanting to do is focus heavily on our area in Oak Cliff that’s heavily Latino-American who walk into our office on a regular basis,” said Darriane Martin of AIDS Arms.

They will distribute fliers along Jefferson Boulevard and in Wynnewood Village before the event and “put people on the streets” the day of testing.

“We want you to get tested, know your status, talk to us and even get some condoms if you need them,” she said.

The same day, they are partnering in the National HIV Testing Day 5K walk/run at 8 a.m. in Reverchon Park in Oak Lawn.

AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth will have extended hours at their office at 400 North Beach St. in Fort Worth on June 29. They will also participate in the third annual Neighborhood Connect at 4300 Eastland St. in Fort Worth on June 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This week, the Center for Disease Control released its 20th annual HIV Surveillance Report noting almost 42,500 new diagnoses of HIV or AIDS in 2007 — the latest year for which statistics were available.

Of new cases reported, 53 percent could be traced to male-to-male sexual contact. More than 30 percent were the result of high-risk heterosexual contact. The rest were connected to intravenous drug use or a combination of risk factors.

More than 21,500 of new cases were among African-Americans. Whites made up the next largest group with more than 12,500 new infections.

Though Texas is the second most populous state, it ranks fourth in new diagnoses as well as in cumulative cases since the beginning of the epidemic. Since the early 1980s, 72,828 people have been identified as HIV-positive.

At the end of 2007, the CDC estimated 468,578 persons were living with HIV/AIDS and that estimate 14,561 people with AIDS died that same year. The total number of deaths related to the virus since the beginning of the epidemic is 583,298.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.