Project Homeless Connect gives free HIV screenings -

Project Homeless Connect gives free HIV screenings

ALTON - In light of this week's World AIDS Day, the focus turned to HIV/AIDS testing for many social service providers in Madison County and adjacent counties.

The Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, which primarily covers St. Clair County, provided testing and prevention awareness Wednesday at the Madison County Continuum of Care's Project Homeless Connect, held in Alton for the first time, which provided many services and courtesies to individuals and families in need. Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation's office and HIV program are located in East St. Louis, but its case managers and program clerk tested people at Alton's Salvation Army, where the Project Homeless Connect event took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"It seems like incidents and awareness has increased," said Doris Radley, an HIV/AIDS case worker for the foundation. "This year, we did a lot of presentations and had more requests from communities, churches and schools."

Even though Radley, medical case manager Nicholas Powell and program clerk and team leader Geraldine Hardy administered some HIV tests Wednesday, Powell said most HIV-positive people do not speak about or disclose their status.

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