VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WAVY) - Would you want a stranger testing your teen for AIDS at a skate park or mall?
Teen AIDS Peer Corps , a local non profit, is raising eyebrows among some Virginia Beach city officials over who, how and where they are testing people.
Just a few weeks ago, the mayor of Virginia Beach himself signed a proclamation for Youth Aids Prevention Day. Hampton Roads has the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the state. The document praised Teen AIDS Peer Corps as a leader in educating teens and promoting testing in Hampton Roads. Now it appears the City is having second thoughts.
A thousand people showed up at Mount Trashmore in April for a fundraiser and HIV testing event hosted by Teen AIDS Peer Corp. The City supported the event, but when test results were read aloud, publicly, the city started asking questions.
Group founder Dr. John Chittick explained, "We're trying to end the stigma. We don't want people to be ashamed of AIDS anymore, to be ashamed of the testing."
Dr. Chittick told the City he'd be back in May to offer more testing. The next time he showed up, so did park security.
"And we were told not to film, and we were told not to publicly test youth," Chittick told WAVY.com
A city attorney declined to speak with WAVY.com until after they met with Dr. Chittick Wednesday morning, but Dr. Chittick shared a list of questions the City emailed to him. 10 On Your Side asked him to answer them.
First, how do you entice children to take part in the public testing and public announcement of the results?
WAVY.com actually saw this first-hand three years ago when the group let WAVY tag along on what they called an 'AIDS ambush'.
Young volunteers simply asked peers if they would like to learn more about HIV and AIDS, and only those who agree are then given information and asked if they would like to be tested.
Next question: Do you obtain parental consent for testing? Dr. Chittick answered no.
"The United States government says anybody 17 or older can buy a test without any permission from anybody," he said.
Do you attempt to contact the child's parents if he or she tests positive? Again, Chittick answered no.
There could be an adverse reaction to the news. How is this handled?
"We will take them to a hospital or clinic, if they wish," Chittick said. "In two cases that we had positive results, the teens did not want us to take them."
Chittick said in a perfect world he wouldn't have to do this. Parents, schools and physicians would step up. Until they do, he said he will step in.
"We are taking this nationwide," he said. "We will be challenging any restrictive laws that I feel are restricting free speech."
Part of his plan to go nationwide is to record the announcement of live results and put them on YouTube so that kids can see real life, unscripted reactions. Again, his idea is to remove the stigma.
Two dogs were rescued from a house fire in Portsmouth Friday afternoon.
The Marines have announced the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Air Show has been canceled for 2014.
Virginia State Police has rolled out a new mobile app to help combat crime.