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For World AIDS Day, San Antonio Organizations Testing And Educating Community

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio

At Monterrey Park on the city’s West Side, Metro Health, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, and Centro de Vida are set up to test residents with mobile trucks, tents, and information tables. In Bexar County there are 4,312 people living with HIV as of the end of 2011 according to Metro Health.

This Saturday is World AIDS Day.

April Tejeda, who is a disease intervention specialist,  said no area of the city has higher HIV rates than any other and Metro Health is trying to cover all sectors of the city.

"We are doing mini-blitzes in between - in the East Side, some in the South Side - and we’re trying to hit all the locations that are in need, but surprisingly, no, it’s [a high HIV rate] not designated to just one population and just one side of town,” Tejeda said.

There are about 200 to 300 new infections every year. In the United States there are an estimated 1.1 million people infected and 33 million worldwide.

Counselor Albert Obregon with the San Antonio AIDS Foundation said the agency has tested 100 people with their 4-week-old mobile testing unit, and while no positives were found some people had never been tested.

"San Antonio is, unfortunately, a ‘late-to-care’ city, which basically means that by the time people find out that they’re HIV positive, they’ve had it for such a long time,” Obregon said. “We find that it’s important to get tested at least once a year no matter what situation you find yourself.”

The World Health Organization predicts 20 percent of people with the virus don’t know they’re infected.

Organizations that offer Free HIV Testing:

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