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Zebulon Church Hosts Wake County's HIV Testing Day

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ZEBULON, N.C. — AIDS is a worldwide epidemic. In the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are HIV-positive and do not even know it.

On Thursday, free, confidential HIV testing is available as part of National HIV Testing Day.

Frances Holloway and her husband, the Rev. Edward Holloway, started HIV and AIDS classes to educate their congregation at Zebulon First Baptist about 2 1/2 years ago. They also created care teams to take care of infected people.

"To educate them and let them know there's help out there and we're working this thing together so no one is shunned. If we shun and put people down and don't let them know there's help out there, people are dying and don't have to be," Frances Holloway said.

The Holloway's church will host Wake County's observance of National HIV Testing Day.

Wake County serves more than 900 people living with HIV.

"We're going to have display tables with literature available in English and Spanish. Throughout the entire day we're going to provide free, confidential HIV testing and also providing syphilis testing," said Lois Carnicom, a Wake County HIV counselor.

Sharlene Simon, Wake County's HIV program manager said 10 percent of new HIV infections in Wake County last year were in rural parts of the county.

"People often feel more comfortable in familiar settings and we hope that encourages people to come out and get tested," Simon said.

She said the goal is to encourage people to know their HIV status.

"If somebody is HIV-negative, they absolutely need to know that and we help them find ways to maintain that status. Also, if somebody is HIV-positive, we have a lot of resources," Carnicom said.

Free testing is available Thursday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Zebulon First Baptist Church. The church is located at 304 East Barbee Street.

Wake County offers services at 14 other non-clinic sites with night and weekend hours. Call (919) 250-3950 for recorded information.

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