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San Antonio AIDS Foundation Using Van to Provide Mobile Testing in Community

San Antonio Aids Foundation mobile testing van
San Antonio Aids Foundation
The San Antonio AIDS Foundation new mobile testing van holds two cubicles for rapid HIV testing. The artwork on the van was designed by local artist Ray "TattooedBoy“ Scarborough.

After working with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation on a national testing tour two years ago, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation received a mobile testing unit for use in Bexar County. The van has two cubicles for rapid 20-minute HIV testing.

During the 2010 tour, Jill Rips, deputy executive director of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, said they found a few positive results.

“Over a two-day period where we tested for four hours each, we were able to - with the help of this van - test 160 people at two Southside Walgreens and identified three positives,” said Rips.

The van is still owned by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the next two years, but will then belong to SAAF once that time is up.

“They’re providing it with free test kits too, and then it's ours,” said Rips. “I guess that’s how they amortize it."

According to Metro Health, there are at least 250 new HIV infections every year in Bexar County and at least 4,000 people infected in the county as of 2010.

Rips said 20 percent of people infected do not know they carry the virus, and that information and knowing your status can help drastically reduce the number of HIV infections. SAAF plans on using the van in the community by the second week of October.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules