The number of AIDS cases diagnosed in Delaware has been on a steady decline in recent years. AIDS Delaware hopes a new mobile testing van will help that number drop even further.
“There are no excuses not to get tested,” said Darcy Brasure, HIV testing manager for AIDS Delaware. “If you get tested, you can go on medication. Your lifespan is going to be the same as anybody else, if you‘re on the medication. If you’re not, you’re just going to get sicker.”
For years, AIDS Delaware has welcomed people into its downtown Wilmington office to get tested whenever they wanted. “Our agency actually does do testing on weekends and nights, we’re the only agency in Delaware that does that,” Brasure said. “I will test you at any time you want to get tested.”
But the group’s location created a barrier of sorts that may have kept some people from coming in. AIDS Delaware is housed on the third floor of Wilmington’s Community Services Building in downtown Wilmington. “What I keep hearing from people is, ‘we never knew you were here,’” he said.
AIDS Delaware officially unveiled a new testing van in downtown Wilmington Friday morning. “The van’s going to allow us to go into the community and test. So, we can go to an organization, a church, a health fair, anywhere that we can park the van, we can do a test,” Brasure said. Testing takes just 15 minutes and only requires a drop of blood.
Brasure is currently scheduling locations for the van to do testing. He expects to be very active at health fairs throughout New Castle County in the spring and summer. “Our goal is to try to get everybody who hasn’t been tested or needs to get tested, tested.”
In 2018, the state recorded less than 100 new cases of HIV for the first time since record-keeping started in 2001. The state’s HIV diagnosis rate of 11.1 cases per 100,000 residents ranks as the 21st highest in the nation. The District of Columbia has the highest rate at 34.6 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the latest HIV numbers posted online by the CDC.
New Jersey ranks 13th with a rate of 13.9 per 100,000. Pennsylvania has the 26th highest rate of diagnoses at 9.2.