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RiverStone Health, in partnership with the Yellowstone AIDS Project, will offer free rapid HIV testing and rapid Hepatitis C testing to the public Wednesday.

As part of National HIV Testing Day, testing is offered in the RiverStone Health trailer from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Park, 6th Avenue South and South 30th Street, and again from 3-6 p.m. at North Park, 1950 8th Ave. N.

“Alarmingly, Yellowstone County is trending upward in newly diagnosed HIV cases while other counties in the state are showing a decline in diagnosed cases of HIV,” prevention health specialist Jace Dyckman at RiverStone Health said in a press release. “National HIV Testing Day gives us the opportunity to remind people about the importance of testing.”

According to RiverStone Health, there are more than 400 people living with HIV in Montana — 15 of whom were newly diagnosed since the beginning of the year. Six of these individuals were diagnosed in Yellowstone County with Eastern Montana averaging about 12 new cases of HIV/AIDS each year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV and one in five people don’t realize they are infected. Early detection is key to the prevention of transmitting the virus.

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