VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - "Teen-Testers" with the organization TeenAIDS-PeerCorps will be out in Virginia Beach on Wednesday testing for HIV/AIDS.
The group calls it live, public HIV testing. The effort is geared toward teenagers as a way to spread awareness and educate about the virus. The "teen-testers" are teens themselves. They are trained by the founder of TeenAIDS, Dr. John Chittick. They use cheek swabs to test the people 17 and older who agree to it.
TeenAIDS says the testers will make a stop at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach on Wednesday. They will specifically go to the skate park. Mt. Trashmore is a spot testing has been done before. In fact, last time TeenAIDS tried to go to the park, security tried to kick them out. Chittick says he was told not to test any of the youth. He also had received an email from the City of Virginia Beach asking a lot of questions about what Teen AIDS was doing. The city had a lot of questions about the public aspect of it. Why are the tests conducted in public? Why are the tests read aloud in public?
Chittick says the public reading of results and doing the tests "live" is part of what they're doing to break the AIDS stigma. He wants teens to know about AIDS, know there is a treatment, and they don't need to be afraid to get tested.
Chittick says they do no contact parents if the teen tests positive. They do volunteer to take them to a hospital or clinic if they need help.
While testing will continue at places like Mt. Trashmore on Wednesday, Virginia Beach's Health Director, Dr. Heidi Kulberg did tell WAVY.com she was taking her concerns to the state level. Kulberg said she would consult the state health commissioner, who would most likely speak with the attorney general. One of her concerns was medical confidentiality.
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